MLB Power Rankings: Where the Teams Stand Going into the Second Half
With the All-Star Game behind us, it's time to start looking forward to the second half. We're halfway through the baseball season and coincidentally, halfway through the summer movie season. So to change things up a bit, I will be dividing the teams up into divisions based on their summer movie counterpart as we go through the rankings.
Since we're only halfway through the summer movie season, I only included films that have been released up to this point. So while the final Harry Potter film looks promising and is poised to shatter every film record, I had to leave it off the list. And granted, I didn't include every single film released this summer season, just the ones that matter. So those of you expecting comparisons to Dylan Dog or Priest, sorry to disappoint.
How I rank the films depend on three categories: what I thought of the film, what Rotten Tomatoes' top critics thought of the film and how much it made in the box office. The first two categories will carry most of the weight but in some cases, the box office, and thus what the average person thought of the film, can catapult the film's ranking.
For the teams, these rankings take into consideration how the team performed in the first half and how well I expect them to perform in the second half.
Anyway, let's get started. These rankings will be in ascending order, so without any further ado...
The Green Lantern Division: Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs
Green Lantern film rating (according to RT's top critics): 26%
30) Astros record: 30-62
29) Orioles record: 36-52
28) Cubs record: 37-55
To the worst teams of the first half goes the honor of being compared to the worst summer movie thus far.
Remember when the Orioles had a winning record earlier in the season? That's kind of like how everyone thought the Green Lantern movie was going to be good. Now in retrospect, people realize both were never really any good.
Now Green Lantern is just an overpaid, costly, under-performing film (supposedly it cost around $300 million dollars and is just breaking $100 million), kind of like the Cubs who have the sixth highest payroll and only 37 wins to show for it.
The Astros are downright abysmal, but surprisingly their pitching stats are actually better than both the Orioles and the Cubs. The Orioles and Cubs are interchangeable since they both have some of the worst pitching stats in the league. I only rank the Cubs one spot higher since I expect them to win more games, but not much more, than the Orioles.
The Cars 2 Division: Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics
Cars 2 film rating (according to RT's top critics): 35%
27) Kansas City Royals record: 37-54
26) San Diego Padres record: 40-52
25) Oakland Athletics record: 39-53
Cars 2 goes to show you that even Pixar has its bad moments.
Now the Royals and Padres are interchangeable because I don't see either of them making any leaps in the second half.
The Padres get the nod only because they have three more wins. Both have promising prospects (Mike Moustakas for the Royals, Anthony Rizzo for the Padres) on their teams right now and plenty more in the farm system. But right now, they're staying put where they are.
The A's get the nod over the Padres because of their rotation. The A's rank towards the top in all major pitching categories and I expect great things from their rotation in the second half. Just ignore the fact that their offense is as strong Cars 2's approval rating.
The Pirates 4 Division: Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins
The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film rating (according to RT's top critics): 33%
24) Florida Marlins record: 43-48
23) Los Angeles Dodgers record: 41-51
22) Minnesota Twins record: 41-48
It's been a disappointing season for both the Dodgers and the Twins.
The Dodgers have all those headlines to worry about and the fact that they're not winning many games. The Twins have had injuries plague them to go along with the fact that they're behind the Cleveland Indians in the standings. Who would've predicted that in March?
The Marlins aren't going anywhere even with their new manager. Hanley Ramirez has to get his stuff together fast otherwise they'll be treading .500 waters for a long time.
Back to the Dodgers and their headline misery: it's a shame that the problems the organization is having are overshadowing the fact that Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are having amazing seasons.
Kind of like it's a shame that they're still making Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Let Johnny Depp do something else with his life.
Hangover 2 Division: Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals
The Hangover Part II film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 35%
21) Colorado Rockies record: 43-48
20) Seattle Mariners record: 43-48
19) Washington Nationals record: 46-46
Also known as the Copy and Paste Division and the We're Going Through This Again? Division.
Those of you who saw The Hangover Part II will get it, those who didn't are better off just watching the first one again and imaging it's in Thailand instead of Las Vegas. It's still a funny movie, but I couldn't help but feel it was something I've already seen.
Anyway, it stands to reason that the Mariners are in this division. Another year, another subpar season. The Mariners have been doing this pretty much since Griffey and A-Rod left.
They won't make a splash in the trade market because they feel they're this close to making the playoffs. And here we are again with the Mariners believing they're this close to making the playoffs.
I wanted to place the Nationals lower since there's little chance they're finishing the season at .500, but I couldn't since neither the Rockies or the Mariners did any better in the first half. Maybe seeing this will spur one of them into winning more games.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Division: Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets
Kung Fu Panda 2 film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 82%
18) Toronto Blue Jays record: 45-47
17) Chicago White Sox record: 44-48
16) New York Mets record: 46-45
Kung Fu Panda 2 was a nice film that had some draw. It didn't make that much in the box office, but it didn't really tank either.
The same goes for these three teams. Each of them has their own draw such as Jose Bautista, Paul Konerko, or Jose Reyes, but the teams themselves aren't really going to do much in the second half. They'll tread .500 with a good chance of them finishing above that mark, but not much higher.
The Mets fall into this division because they technically don't have a closer since that K-Rod trade went down. And it's kind of hard to make the playoffs without a closer.
The Fast Five Division: Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers
Fast Five film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 78%
15) Cincinnati Reds record: 45-47
14) Pittsburgh Pirates record: 47-43
13) Detroit Tigers record: 49-43
Fast Five gets points for being a pretty good action film. It loses points for being the fifth movie. I was a little surprised by how well it did (over $200 million in box office) considering history doesn't like films numbered four and up.
Bringing us to the Pittsburgh Pirates. I wanted to throw them down into a lower division, but to do so meant that I had to ignore their first half. I can honestly say that I didn't see the Pirates finishing the first half near .500 let alone above it.
But like Fast Five, I expect the buzz surrounding them to fade fast as they start to come back down to earth and some other team, like the Twins, White Sox, or Reds to catch fire and steal the media's attention.
The Thor Division: Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks, St. Louis Cardinals
Thor film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 77%
12) Cleveland Indians record: 47-42
11) Arizona Diamondbacks record: 49-43
10) St. Louis Cardinals record: 49-43
Thor was a great film that exceeded people's expectations.
A lot of people, including myself and the people financing the film, were worried about how a film about a God would fit with the audience. Those fears were put to rest when Thor was praised by critics and did pretty well at the box office.
Speaking of exceeding expectations, not many people thought the Indians would be at the top of their division. They've fallen back to earth since their hot start but a weak lineup, weaker rotation, and injuries look to take their division lead away from them.
As for St. Louis, they're in the top five for most offensive categories and with Pujols back and starting to looking like his old self, the Cardinals should be able to make the playoffs.
The Super 8 Division: Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels
Super 8 film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 80%
9) Milwaukee Brewers: 49-43
8) Tampa Bay Rays: 49-41
7) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim record: 50-42
This is an instance where my personal opinions on the film brings it up a few levels. Super 8 did okay at the box office probably because a lot of people didn't know what it was about. It's this summer's underrated film.
The teams in this division are a little underrated, and maybe under appreciated as well. The Brewers are underrated because they lack defense and the Rays are because of their division. The Angels get overlooked because they've been trudging along as expected and the Rangers are still the AL West's sweethearts because of their World Series run last year.
But now the Brewers have K-Rod to help the bullpen, the Rays hope to get a full second half from Evan Longoria, and the Angels have brought up Mike Trout.
So maybe people will now start paying attention to them.
The X-Men Division: Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants
X-Men First Class film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 86%
6) Texas Rangers record: 51-41
5) Atlanta Braves record: 54-38
4) San Francisco Giants record: 52-40
If the Braves didn't have to face the Phillies a bunch of more times than the Giants have to, then I would've bumped them up. But since the Braves and Phillies are in the same division, that's going to hurt their win totals as evidenced by this past weekend.
The Rangers get the nod over their AL West rivals, the Angels, because of their seven game win streak before the break. However, it's a toss up on who'll win the division since the Rangers don't have Cliff Lee anymore.
And once again, the Giants continue to make people wonder how they're winning. They're in first place despite injuries and the fact that not many people, myself included, could name their starting lineup or rotation off the top of their head. Not to mention they rank so close to the bottom in offensive categories that they could touch it.
The Transformers: Dark of the Moon Division: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
Transformers: Dark of the Moon film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 36%
3) New York Yankees record: 53-35
2) Boston Red Sox record: 55-35
How could a movie with a 36% approval rating be this high? How is Derek Jeter still considered a superstar in the league? Simple, he's Derek Jeter. And the answer for the first question is also simple, it's Transformers and not just Transformers, but Michael Bay's Transformers which raked in nearly $300 million in its first two weeks alone. There's no arguing that.
Like there's no arguing that the Red Sox and Yankees are going to be fighting for first place every year. People might not like them, like how critics despise the Transformers movies, but people are still going to watch them every year.
If you ignore the fact that the Transformers movies have little plot and what plot they do have makes little sense, they're great action movies.
Just like if you ignore the fact that it's the Red Sox and Yankees, you'll realize they're great teams.
As much as it wounds me, the Red Sox get the slight edge simply because of Adrian Gonzalez's MVP-like first half. The Yankees are going to have to do without Alex Rodriguez for some time which could potentially hurt them.
Neither team has an edge in pitching since Jon Lester's hurt for Boston and New York has a bunch of guys who just throw the ball behind CC Sabathia.
The race for first is going to depend on who gets their guys back from the DL first with no complications and who's willing to transform (like what I did there?) their team at the trade deadline.
The Bridesmaids Division: Philadelphia Phillies
Bridesmaids film rating (according to RTs' top critics): 90%
1) Philadelphia Phillies record: 57-34
If Transformers is the summer blockbuster, then Bridesmaids is the summer comedy. It's funny without being overtly funny and it offers a fresh view in the comedy genre. While it might not have had The Hangover Part II or Transformers: Dark of the Moon type success at the box office, it didn't tank and it does have the honor of being the highest rated movie thus far. It's just a great film that doesn't have many flaws.
The Phillies have been baseball's best team so far to no one's surprise. Having Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt in your rotation tends to do that. So does ranking first in Team ERA, quality starts and WHIP.
While people could point to their offense and bullpen as possible weaknesses, it hasn't hurt them so far. They could probably win the division on their rotation alone.
They also stand a good chance of reaching the World Series if no one can match their rotation. The playoffs have been decided by the strength of a team's rotation and looking at the Phillies' rotation, they'll likely go far.