2012 MLB Power Rankings – Top 10 Teams in June: The All-Star Game is fast approaching, and for most teams, it can’t come soon enough. This is the time of the year when the temperature starts to rise, and position players and pitchers start to wear down. Nagging injuries start to mount, and the depth of all the teams is tested. A division can’t be won in June and July, but a summer slump can definitely cost a team a shot at the postseason. In this installment of Power Rankings, the teams that have navigated the rough patch of the year the best have climbed to the top.
2012 MLB Power Rankings: Top 10 Teams in June
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (39-23): Even without Matt Kemp, who is probably the best all-around player in baseball, the Dodgers keep winning. In fact, they have the best record in the majors and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Pitching has been the strength of the team all season, and having the second-best team ERA in the game has helped offset the fact that the Dodgers have hit the third-fewest home runs of any team.
2. Texas Rangers (35-26): The pitching has slipped a bit in recent weeks, but the powerful Texas lineup continues to assault opposing pitchers. The Rangers currently rank first as a team in batting average, runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. They also rank third in homers. Led by AL MVP frontrunner Josh Hamilton, the Texas offense will continue to power this team to wins.
3. New York Yankees (35-25): A four-game winning streak and an 8-2 stretch overall has vaulted the Yankees into a tie for first in the AL East. The “Bronx Bombers” are living up to their nickname, and New York has mashed a MLB-leading 93 homers this season. Not to mention that the addition of veteran Andy Pettitte to the staff has solidified the starting rotation.
4. Washington Nationals (36-23): Washington is literally pitching its way toward a division title. The Nationals’ staff has been incredible, and their 2.98 team ERA and 1.14 WHIP are the best in the majors. Starters Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Edwin Jackson all have an ERA of 3.02 or lower. Meanwhile, the addition of Bryce Harper and the steady play of Adam Laroche have given the offense a boost. If third baseman Ryan Zimmerman can ever get fully healthy, this team is going to be a potential World Series contender.
5. Los Angeles Angels (33-29): Apparently, Albert Pujols’ first homer lifted the monkey off the back of the entire team. The Angels have been playing great lately and have moved within 2 ½ games of Texas in the AL West thanks to a 7-3 stretch. Rookie Mike Trout has been a phenomenal addition at the top of a lineup that has been heating up alongside Pujols. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has quietly posted the second-best ERA in the American League. The Angels could still live up the hype, even with the slow start.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (35-25): Tampa Bay currently sits tied atop the AL East standings, and the pitching continues to carry an offense that desperately needs Evan Longoria to return. The Rays have the best team ERA (3.40) in the AL (3.40), but stringing together wins has been tough lately, in large part because of the second-lowest batting average in the league. Tampa Bay has relied heavily on aggressive base running to manufacture runs, but this team could be in trouble in the pitching falters at all.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (32-27): The Pirates are somewhat of a statistical anomaly. They have scored the fewest runs (191) in the majors this year and have the second-lowest batting average (.224) but are tied for first in the NL Central. An 8-2 stretch has helped them climb up the standings, but the real backbone of this team has been pitching. James McDonald has blossomed as an ace, castoffs A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard have been rock solid, and Pittsburgh has the third-best team ERA. Long term, the offense will have to improve, but for now, the Pirates are making some noise.
8. Atlanta Braves (34-27): With all the young players on offense, Atlanta is going to go through some ups and downs, but with seven wins in their last 10 games, the Braves are rolling right now. Offense hasn’t really been the issue anyway, as Atlanta has ranked in the top 10 in runs scored all year. Pitching depth has been the real issue, and the Braves need starters other than Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson to step up. Still, Atlanta has been in the mix all year in the loaded NL East.
9. Chicago White Sox (33-27): Paul Konerko is criminally underrated as the centerpiece of a Chicago offense that ranks sixth in the majors in both runs scored and homers, and Adam Dunn has bounced back by already smacking 20 home runs. Starter Jake Peavy has also returned to form, and youngster Chirs Sale has flourished in his first year in the rotation. Add it all up, and the White Sox are leading the AL Central and are set up for a playoff push.
10. San Francisco Giants (34-27): Slugger Pablo Sandoval has been hurt, two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum has been horrible, but the Giants have still managed the third-most wins in the National League thus far. It has been a group effort, with Matt Cain and the other starters stepping up and speedy outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan having career years at the plate. The Giants have hit the second-fewest homers in the majors, but they rank seventh in total hits and first in triples. It has been a little unconventional, but it is working for San Francisco.
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