Blue Jays on a run, but A's still lead Power Rankings
Oakland tops American League in runs, RBIs and OBP; staff leads Majors in ERA
Mark Buehrle is off to the best start of his career, Edwin Encarnacion is locked in and sizzling at the plate and their club is fresh off one of the best months in franchise history. Now is a great time to be baseball fan in Toronto, and it's time to give credit where credit is due.
OK, Blue Jays?
Last month, the American League East leaders topped the Major Leagues in wins (21), runs (165), hits (286), home runs (48), extra-base hits (115) and OPS (.831). What's more, Encarnacion's 16 May home runs matched Mickey Mantle's AL record for the month. The slugger has 19 home runs this season and hit 14 homers in the last 17 games.
As for Buehrle, the 35-year-old pitcher threw eight scoreless innings against the Royals on Sunday to become the first 10-game winner in the big leagues.
But how do the Jays match up against the A's or the Giants? What about the Tigers, Angels and Yankees? Are the Brewers the best team in baseball?
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.
1. Athletics: It's easy to see why some consider the A's the best team in baseball. Oakland is among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories, including runs, RBIs and on-base percentage. The A's pitching staff boasts a Major League-best 2.93 ERA, while opponents are hitting a league-worst .223.
Last week: 1
2. Giants: The National League West-leading Giants have a commanding lead in the division standings, and part of the reason is their superb 19-9 home record. Buster Posey, who missed three games with lower back tightness, had three hits in his first game back Sunday against the Cardinals. The All-Star entered the game on a 3-for-34 skid.
3. Blue Jays: The Jays have won eight of their last 10 games and lead the second-place Yankees by 3 1/2 games in the AL East standings. Encarnacion set a franchise record and tied Mantle for the AL record for most homers in the month of May with 16, and then he hit a two-run homer in the Blue Jays' 4-0 win over the Royals on Sunday.
4. Brewers: It's a good time to be a baseball fan in Milwaukee, and here's why: The Brewers have won three consecutive series, are 11 games over .500 and now four games up on the runner-up Cardinals in the NL Central. Ryan Braun is also heating up at the plate and showing power at Miller Park.
5. Tigers: It's been a long stretch of road games for Detroit, but the club will play 13 of 17 games at home over the next 2 1/2 weeks. The Tigers have lost two in a row and six of their last 10 games, but they still lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games, only a half-game less than three weeks ago.
6. Braves: The NL East leaders are coming off a three-game sweep of the Marlins, and their offense is roaring back to life. Atlanta followed a four-game stretch that saw the team score only nine runs with 13 runs in the final two games in Miami.
7. Angels: Los Angeles was swept in a three-game series at O.co Coliseum for the first time since 2004 over the weekend, but the team remains optimistic. Here's one reason why: Josh Hamilton, who has been out since April 8 and sustained a bone bruise in his surgically repaired left thumb during his first game with Triple-A on May 22, will be activated for Tuesday's game against the Astros.
8. Cardinals: St. Louis' offense got a boost over the weekend when Oscar Taveras, ranked the No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, and tabbed as the Cardinals' best prospect since Albert Pujols, hit a home run in his big league debut Saturday and notched another hit Sunday. With that said, St. Louis lost three games in the four-game set against San Francisco.
9. Dodgers: Manager Don Mattingly has gone on record with his belief that Yasiel Puig is the best right fielder in baseball, and he could be right. Puig is among the league leaders in several offensive categories, and he has shown improved discipline at the plate. Puig is still prone to mistakes at times, but his range on defense and his throwing arm are among the best in the game.
10. Yankees: Carlos Beltran, who has not played since May 12 due to a bone spur in his right elbow, could join the club later this week and Brian McCann, who battled an early-season slump, appears to be back on track. Rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka continues to dominate and has already notched eight wins on the season.
11. Mariners: Seattle has been full of surprises this season. Rookie starter Roenis Elias has emerged as one of the top young pitchers in the game and sports a 4-4 record with a 3.53 ERA, including a shutout of the Tigers on Sunday. Robinson Cano is hitting .327 and has driven in 31 runs, but he has only two home runs this season and both came at Texas.
12. Rockies: The road-weary Rockies can't wait to get back to Coors Field, where they are 16-7. Colorado has lost four in a row and seven of the last nine games on the most recent road trip through Atlanta, Philadelphia and Cleveland.
13. Marlins: Miami still boasts a Major League-best 20 wins at home this season, despite losing three to the Braves over the weekend. The Fish will be without catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Sunday.
14. Orioles: Nelson Cruz is batting .315 with 20 home runs, 52 RBIs and a .672 slugging percentage, but he is nursing a sore left hand after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. The O's have won two in a row and trail the first-place Blue Jays by 4 1/2 games in the AL East standings.
15. Nationals: Washington scored 19 runs on 27 hits during the first two games against the Rangers over the weekend. Ryan Zimmerman, out since April 12 with a fractured right thumb, is expected to join the team Tuesday.