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MLB Power Rankings: June 2012

06/05/2012 10:52 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

The Dodgers have cooled off a bit since Matt Kemp went on the DL.(AP)
The first week of June means that we’ve finished roughly a third of the MLB season, and since we last convened, there are still quite a few big storylines (like Josh Hamilton’s Triple Crown bid, the Nationals’ semi-surprising surge, and the Dodgers’ return to prominence) still in progress.

There is one other somewhat bizarre phenomenon that is in progress as well: the fact that every team in the East Division – both AL and NL – sat above .500 on the morning of June 4. Even further, the Beasts of the Easts would have all four wild card spots if the playoffs started at week’s open, and the Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves wouldn’t even be involved!

That tight pair of races has caused some other pleasantly surprising (like the White Sox, Giants, and Reds) remain more anonymous than they should be, but has also helped mask a few teams’ descents (like the Tigers and Brewers) as well.

Will we say the same come July 4?

RANK
TEAM
NOTE
MOVE
1 The Dodgers have been on top for most of the season; can they stay there with Matt Kemp on the DL for the second time?
EVEN
2 Did ANYONE have Chicago as one of the Top 5 teams in baseball on June 1? If so, please contact us with Wednesday’s Powerball numbers.
UP
3 You need talent to win. But if there’s any team that can take players and fit them into a system better than Joe Maddon and the Rays, they haven’t been discovered yet.
UP
4 The rotation is starting to falter a bit and Josh Hamilton has cooled off…but that’s like saying the Taj Mahal has a paint chip and the sun has lost a degree or two.
DOWN
5 In honor of the announcement that Bill Maher bought a Mets minority share, here’s a “Real Time”-esque new rule: Start believing that this team might actually contend all year.
UP
6 They went 20-8 in May, and the silver lining to Gaby Sanchez’ struggles is that LoMo gets to play first base now and then. See how that works out offensively?
EVEN
7 The All-Star Game is a popularity contest, of course, but Melky Cabrera should be starting in KC on July 10.
UP
8 A three-way tie for first place in the NL East on June 4 and the Braves and Phillies aren’t in it? The future is now, and these DC power players are still leading the way.
DOWN
9 A very good road trip against two teams that are better than their record suggests (and Oakland), and Hughes and Kuroda were very good in 3 of their 4 total starts.
UP
10 Even with Weaver on the DL, the surge continues. You knew they couldn’t be that bad for that long, didn’t you?
EVEN
11 Aroldis Chapman has been dominant since becoming the closer. Also, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier have done very well for themselves on the left side of the infield.
DOWN
12 Raise the Jolly Roger! It’s June and the Pirates are still treading above .500! James McDonald (5-2, 2.14) and surprisingly, A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.60 as of Monday) are big reasons why.
UP
13 Buck Showalter and the gang have dropped back to Earth a bit lately, but still were tied atop the AL East at week’s open. Can they maintain the offense without Markakis?
DOWN
14 St. Louis has gone from the Gateway to the West to the Gateway to the DL of late. They’re still good, but getting one run in three games against the Mets doesn’t look it.
DOWN
15 Congratulations to Johnny Damon, whose wife gave birth to twins last Friday. Here’s to hoping a few days off and some new additions will help him come back refocused.
DOWN
16 Seems like only a matter of time before we see Vlad Guerrero in the blue and white. Travis d’Arnaud, too, which makes us wonder if J.P. Arencibia can play left field.
DOWN
17 You have to feel for Kevin Youkilis, who has gone from heart and soul of a gritty Sox team to platoon player likely on his way out – through seemingly no fault of his own.
UP
18 It’s uncanny how the lack of Chipper Jones has affected the Braves this season.
DOWN
19 Justin Verlander has a 2.67 ERA but is just 5-4. If you looked fast, you might think this team was the Phillies.
UP
20 The injury bug has bitten them again, this time with Jose Contreras needing Tommy John surgery. Joe Blanton may be struggling, but at least the guy has made all of his starts this year.
DOWN
21 The Brew Crew is surging, but it’s still not too early to wonder if they’ll be selling their pitching power in another eight weeks.
UP
22 We know the Dodgers are much better and San Fran is still good…but was last season a mirage or an oasis for the D-Backs? Right now it looks more like the former.
EVEN
23 Eric Hosmer looks like he’s starting to get it together. Maybe Alex Gordon can follow suit?
UP
24 The Jamie Moyer experiment was fun while it lasted, but the Rockies need to see what they have in that young pitching.
EVEN
25 Signs you can tell a column runs once a month: The Mariners were 3-7 in their last 10 as of Monday and move up.
UP
26 As of Monday morning, Scott Diamond had started six of the Twins’ 53 games…and had four of the rotation’s 12 wins. That’s certainly something.
UP
27 Place your bets now on whether their All-Star will be 2B Jose Altuve (.316-3-18 through Sunday’s games) or closer Brett Myers (13 saves, 1.86 ERA).
DOWN
28 The team that plays in the most cavernous park not named Yellowstone was second-to-last in batting average (.209) through the weekend. Yikes.
DOWN
29 Carlos Quentin has 19 at-bats and is tied for third on the team in home runs (with all of three). On the bright side, he’ll bring some good prospects at the trade deadline.
DOWN
30 The Cubs had the third best ERA in baseball (3.29) through the weekend, but they can’t buy poor Ryan Dempster a win.
EVEN
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