MLB Power Groupings: Everybody Jump As High As You Can

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IJune 16, 2009

DENVER - MAY 31:  Manager Jim Tracy #4 of the Colorado Rockies talks with coach Tom Runnells #22 as they watch the action against the San Diego Padres during MLB action at Coors Field on May 31, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Padres defeated the Rockies 5-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

From week to week, you wonder how you will say something new or how exactly something can change in just one weeks worth of action.

This is baseball though, and as you've no doubt come to learn, things change quickly.

We've had teams make as big of jumps as you can make in a power groupings style. Colorado is flying and if they weren't in a tough division with two good teams, they might be in better standing.

One of the teams they might be chasing has suddenly found themselves in better position than they did last week, but it isn't because of their doing.

In fact, you will come to learn that the NL Central has not only shook up their own division, they've made it interesting for a team like San Francisco.

Is this not what makes baseball great? You've got your chance, at some point in the season. At the end, you will have no excuses because there is plenty of chances and plenty of time to prove what you are.

Maybe you are a team like Cleveland or Kansas City, who will have more chances than another team, like maybe a Colorado or a San Francisco.

But at least you still get chances and it looks like Colorado is one of those teams that are attempting to test at least one of their last chances right now.

Still no progress? Start thinking of unloading.

Baltimore, Washington, San Diego, Arizona

Boy did this group shrink or what?

The usual suspects remain and I think it's pretty safe to say that all four of these teams are here to stay. If any of them have shown flashes, they've been minimal, unless you are San Diego and you go on long winning streaks and equally long losing streaks.

Arizona and San Diego are in just as worse shape as anyone out there because not only are they not very good, they are in a division in which is un-catchable.

Washington is just bad; they could be in the AL Central and they'd still be behind by a good chunk.

Baltimore does have the worst winning percentage in the entire American League, but we all know they're facing good teams every time they face someone in-division.

Teetering on the brink of disaster.

Oakland, Seattle, Colorado

Can I get the AL West out of the way real quick?

Look it is only a matter of time before Seattle and Oakland fade into the space they belong, simple as that. They're just at a point where it is close, but I don't think it's close enough, especially with Los Angeles looking like they are getting their legs under them.

Let's talk about Colorado.

What is it with the NL West and their streak? San Diego did it, a few times actually, and now Colorado has run around like a chicken with their head cut off.

What is crazy is that they've won 11-straight games and yet they are still 10.5 games back of the division lead.

At least they've moved up to third place. But it just goes to show you that they were really in a deep hole before this run. The good news is that they're actually not that far off of the NL wild-card spot.

Unfortunately for them in this little feature we do here, the wild card doesn't come into play for awhile, so they've still got a few more wins to go before they can climb off the ledge and safely away from the brink of disaster.

NL, AL, it doesn't matter, we play in the Central.

Cleveland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Houston

I submit, I really do.

I can't figure out the Central division in either league. You got Milwaukee and St. Louis now bringing everyone else back into the race.

And when I mean everyone, I mean everyone, including Houston and Pittsburgh.

Four games back is even worse than the five-and-a-half Kansas City trail the Tigers by.

When did this happen? Was I sleeping?

No, it happened in the course of one week, and we'll talk about this more later, but wow.

Cleveland is playing better baseball, while Kansas City isn't stinking it up as bad as they were, at least they are winning some games. You have Houston and Pittsburgh, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but playing well enough in combination with St. Louis and Milwaukee's struggles to make this move.

This group could very well not exist tomorrow, Kansas City could be packing up or Pittsburgh could be in the middle, you just never really know. This is the Central and it is reminiscent of a crowded jungle.

Shifty Eyes

Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta, Florida

Detroit is doing everything they can to lessen the gap, and neither Chicago nor Minnesota can seem to capitalize.

I mean what else can you say about these two? They are in the Central just as Kansas City and Cleveland. Detroit isn't running away and they aren't playing high enough to make up that ground, so the Tigers stick around with a minimal lead.

Then you go to the NL East where Atlanta and Florida are two different teams.

They're very similar in terms of their records and their standing right now, but I feel as if one is on the upswing and the other is on the down.

Florida is playing better ball and they seem to be getting good pitching lately as well. Atlanta lost a few close ones last week and last week I viewed them in the same light I viewed the Reds.

However the Reds have been just as bad, if not worse as their buddies in the NL Central. Atlanta is in a much different type of division and with a lot tougher foes to battle with.

I like the middle, where the center is warm.

Tampa Bay, Toronto, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Cincinnati, Chicago Cubs

Tampa Bay is making their move and Toronto is as well. Those moves are in opposite directions though and for now it has forced them to meet in the middle.

Interleague can make you or break you most times. Right now it is sort of making the Tampa Bay Rays a little better and kind of putting a damper on Toronto's fun.

The Angels are just cruising along and I think their best baseball is yet to come. Not bad for being a few games out and on a bit of an upswing as the Rangers are on a bit of a downswing.

Then we've got the Mets, who are just hurting right now. I feel bad for them and their injuries and on top of that, not even Johan Santana can stabilize them. They're in the center right now, but how much longer can they last like this?

You might as well lump the Reds in with the top of the NL Central and throw the Cubs in with the bottom. A bad week for the top three has made the entire division a cluster-ahem...you know what. The Cubs are probably the biggest beneficiaries of that as they are just looking to hang around for awhile.

In it to win it.

New York Yankees, Detroit, Texas, Milwaukee, San Francisco

We've got some change to the group name in part from its newest addition, but also because the New York Yankees are no longer leading the AL East.

Hey, if the Yankees didn't have to face the Red Sox, they'd be pretty well off. Unfortunately for them, the Red Sox are on their schedule a lot, as you'd expect. They better fix that.

I think I've talked enough about Detroit without directly talking about them. They go right along with Milwaukee in this group as division leaders that just can't pull it away.

It feels like Texas is also sort of wavering as well and things aren't looking better with the Angels hot on their heels.

Probably my favorite team in this group is the San Francisco Giants. I had them as shifty eyes last week, but if there is a team that benefited more than the Cubs from the NL Central cluster downfall it is the Giants.

Second place in the un-winnable NL West? No problem for them because there is something called the Wild Card. As I've previously pointed out there, we don't care about that right now. However right now, they are the third best team in the National League and you cannot deny that status to them.

Here we are, where we should be.

Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers

Boston has overtaken the Yankees to claim lead to the AL East, something I think they are going to claim at the end of the year. Let's just put them to aside right now as they battle it out.

One team that won't have to battle it out is the Los Angeles Dodgers. I mean I said it last week and I'm struggling to say something relevant about the Dodgers again this week. They've got the best record in baseball by three and a half games and it is without their best player.

St. Louis has been talked about enough as we know they are a part of the NL Central, which I think at this point can just be renamed the NL Cluster, as can the AL Central. I've used the word cluster enough in the same sentence so that Central should just automatically now translate to Cluster.

Philadelphia seems too interesting for this group. The way the Mets look as far as being banged up, they could probably just keep a normal mediocre pace for awhile. If I were them though, it would be nice to go on a little bit of run and get a little breathing room.

Especially with the Marlins looking like they have a little fight left in them.

Extra Bases

June is Up: The Rays have ridden win streaks of four and five in the month of June to power their 9-3 month so far. The Rockies have won 11 games in June, which yes, means they started off the month with three straight losses.

Good or Bad?: Best team with a negative run differential? The Angels with a 32-29 record and a negative two run differential. The worst team with a positive run differential? The Pirates with a 30-33 record and a positive eight run run differential. Which team would you rather be? I'd actually have to say the Pirates, as far as position goes, not by team.

Make or Break: I mentioned that interleague play can make or break a team and then brought up the Toronto Blue Jays. Just to make sure you know, they are actually 0-6.

Can't Beat Us: Everyone is going to talk about the Yankees starting off 0-8 against Boston. But make note that the Rockies are 1-8 against the Dodgers and the Nationals are 2-10 against the Phillies. I guess that doesn't really matter considering the Yankees are in second place.

Pitcher Love: Let's give some love to the defense in the center of the diamond. Best pitching staff fielding percentage? That would be the Twins with a perfect 1.000%.

What's the Problem?: So why are the Angels struggling? Well I take a look at their bullpen's batting average against and look at an AL worst .291 average and I'd like to focus on that. Losing Scot Shields won't help that at all. Jose Arredondo, Justin Speier, and the rest of the crew all better step it up.

Power Heat: The Indians hit 24 home runs in the month of May. About halfway through the month of June they've hit 18.

Hello Texas, You There?: As the Indians are heating up with their homers, what is going on with the Rangers? They're typically not just a team that does it big all year, when Summer hits, you'd think they'd really go off. Not the case as they've scored just 39 runs so far this month, 25th in the entire major leagues.


*All statistics, standings, and opinions were based off their states going into action on June 16.


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