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The Times' baseball rankings

Rangers lead all teams, with Angels and Dodgers both in top six.

June 09, 2012
  • Texas' Josh Hamilton leads the American League in homers (22) and runs batted in (59) and is second in batting average (.338).
Texas' Josh Hamilton leads the American League in homers (22) and… (Ben Margot / Associated…)

Acknowledging L.A.'s new place as Hockeytown West, Deputy Sports Editor Mike Hiserman ranks all 30 Major League Baseball teams, from first to worst (records through Friday):

POWER PLAY(ER)

Texas Rangers (34-25): Move over I'll Have Another. Josh Hamilton is latest triple crown threat, leading the American League in homers (22) and runs batted in (59) while second in batting average (.338).

Atlanta Braves (33-25): Road warriors are National League-best 20-14 away from home. Closer Craig Kimbrel is 17 of 18 in save attempts; rest of bullpen is three of nine.

Tampa Bay Rays (33-25): All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria, recovering from a partially torn hamstring, may start minor league rehabilitation assignment this week.

Angels (30-29): What a tremendous pickup from last season's free agent market. Albert Pujols? Nope.C.J. Wilson: seven wins and a sterling 2.39 earned-run average.

New York Yankees (32-25): No Mariano Rivera? No problem. Yankees lead AL with save percentage of 88 — only two blown saves in 17 chances. However, rotation is second-to-last in quality starts.

ODD MAN RUSH

Dodgers (37-22): Term "odd man" certainly fits Dodgers, who on multiple occasions have received game-winning heroics from a player — Elian Herrera — who doesn't even have a bio on the team website.

IN THE CREASE

Washington Nationals (33-23): NL's best in team ERA, walks + hits per innings pitched (WHIP) and batting average against. Among NL's worst in hitting and scoring.

San Francisco Giants (33-26): Starters Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito and Ryan Volgelsong have combined record of 23-11. Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecom is 2-6.

Cincinnati Reds (32-25): News flash: Aroldis Chapman gave up a run on Thursday. That makes one this year, in 30 innings. He's given up nine hits and has 54 strikeouts.

NEUTRAL ZONE

Chicago White Sox (32-26): Dodgers fans might remember a pretty good closer, Jeff Shaw. The club traded Paul Konerko for him 403 homers and 1,278 RBIs ago. Konerko is batting .361.

Cleveland Indians (31-26): Hot start didn't warm the home fans. Indians' average attendance at Progressive Field is MLB-worst 17,159, meaning stadium is less than 40% filled.

Miami Marlins (31-27): Ozzie (Guillen) being Ozzie, explaining why he was demoting a young reliever: "… it wasn't proper to bring him up to the big leagues. I'm not saying he wasn't ready, but it was too quick."

St. Louis Cardinals (30-29): Free agent swap isn't the problem. Carlos Beltran: .275 batting average, 16 home runs, 44 RBIs. Albert Pujols: .248, eight homers, 32 RBIs.

New York Mets (32-27): KnuckleballerR.A. Dickey has nine wins (and a 2.44 ERA with an average of about a strikeout per inning). The rest of the Mets starters have combined to win 13.

Toronto Blue Jays (30-28): Led by Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, Jays have slugged 82 home runs, second-most in the majors.

Baltimore Orioles (32-26): With nine losses in last 12 games, O's are starting to revert to cellar-dweller form. They've had 14 consecutive losing seasons and finished last in AL East four seasons running.

Boston Red Sox (29-29): Veteran David Ortiz leads club in every major hitting category: batting average (.301), homers (13), RBIs (37) and on-base percentage (.387) Too bad he can't pitch.

OFF SIDE

Milwaukee Brewers (27-31): Ryan Braun leads Brew Crew in batting average (.308), on-base percentage (.390), homers (14), RBIs (37), stolen bases (11) … and getting booed (on the road, always).

Philadelphia Phillies (29-31): No Ryan Howard, no Chase Utley, no stellar pitching — team's 3.89 ERA is seventh in NL — no playoffs?

Pittsburgh Pirates (30-27): So it goes for former Dodgers farmhand Joel Hanrahan, now an All-Star closer: He blows his second save opportunity in 18 tries only to notch his third win without a loss.

Arizona Diamondbacks (28-30): Defending NL West champions are definition of mediocre — ninth of 16 in NL in offense; 10th in pitching. Gibby has to be growling.

Detroit Tigers (26-32): Justin Verlander: 5-4 record. 2.67 ERA in 87 2/3 innings. Rest of rotation: 10-13, 4.63 ERA in 227 1/3 innings.

SHORTHANDED

Kansas City Royals (24-32): Baseball's youngest roster — average age, 26.8 years — has some developing talent, including former Chatsworth High star Mike Moustakas (.277, 9 HR, 28 RBI).

Colorado Rockies (24-33): Can they blame it all on the altitude? Team's mile-high 5.14 earned run average is more than a run higher than all but four NL teams.

Seattle Mariners (27-33): Against Dodgers, Kevin Millwood and five relievers temporarily gave new meaning to term "no-hit Mariners." Usually it just means the M's can't hit — they have .236 team average.

Oakland Athletics (26-33): Speaking of no hitters, only two regulars in Friday's lineup were hitting better than .222. Team's anemic .218 team batting average is lowest in AL.

ON ICE

Minnesota Twins (23-34): $8.5 million doesn't buy what it used to. Carl Pavano made 11 starts, only four of them quality (six innings, no more than three earned runs) before going on the disabled list.

Houston Astros (25-33): Second baseman Jose Altuve, 22, is a pearl among empty shells. He leads the Astros with .325 batting average and has 17 doubles, four triples, three homers and nine stolen bases.

Chicago Cubs (19-39): Home runs, Alfonso Soriano 11, Brian LaHair 12; doubles, Soriano and LaHair 11; batting average, Soriano .271, LaHair .310; annual salary, Soriano $18 million, LaHair $483,000.

San Diego Padres (19-40): Fans really do need a scorecard: Padres have already used 23 different pitchers. What they really need is a couple of hitters to boost team's .226 batting average.

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