MLB - 3 Up 3 Down (06/01/14)

By John Ewing
Three Up, Three Down - a look at the notable and disappointing teams from the month of May.

A sports rating system analyzes the results of sports competitions to provide objective ratings for each team. Rankings are then derived by sorting the team's rating and assigning an ordinal rank. A lazy analyst will add the word Power to the beginning of their ranking for added significance. An even lazier analyst will skip the whole ranking ordeal and cherry pick a few teams to talk about - which leads us to May's Three Up, Three Down column.

Three Up



Toronto Blue Jays
May: 21 Wins, 9 Losses, .700 Win Percentage
Season: 32 wins – 24 losses, Leading AL East by 2.5 games

The Blue Jays won 13 of their last 16 games in May including a nine game winning streak. There was a 0.14 percent chance of Toronto sweeping the Red Sox, Athletics and Rays during the winning streak. The Blue Jays are alone in first place after May 25th for the first time since July 6, 2000 (per Richard Justice of MLB.com).

The Blue Jays have the third best offense in baseball, largely constructed of power. Toronto leads the majors with 82 home runs. Edwin Encarnacion hit 16 dingers in the month of May, tying a record set by Micky Mantle. Six players have at least eight or more home runs.

Before the month of May, Toronto was projected to finish last in the AL East, now the Blue Jays are projected to win the division with an 87-75 record. Using our MLB Future Picks, Toronto has a 53.4 percent chance of winning the AL East.

San Francisco Giants
May: 19 Wins, 9 Losses, .679 Win Percentage
Season: 36 wins – 19 losses, Leading NL West by 7.5 games

San Francisco has the best record in baseball and is a major league leading best 17 games over .500. The cherry on top, Hunter Pence and his stolen scooter were reunited!

Not to rain on the Giants' parade but division rivals, Dodgers and Rockies, rank higher in our Power Rankings than San Francisco. The Boys from the Bay are on a roll but the good times may not last.

San Francisco is currently projected to win the NL West with a 92-70 record but we expect the Dodgers and Rockies to close the gap and contend for the division title. The Giants have 68.7 percent chance of winning the NL West.

St. Louis Cardinals
May: 15 Wins, 12 Losses, .556 Win Percentage
Season: 29 wins – 26 losses, 4 games out of first in the NL Central

The Redbirds had a losing record on May 10th (18-19). Seven days later St. Louis had become the projected NL Central champion despite being five games behind the Brewers in the standings. St. Louis finished the month on an 11-7 record.

The Redbirds are already the projected division winners and with some better luck: they're hitting .239 with runners in scoring position, losing records in one-run (9-10) and extra inning (2-4) games, the Cardinals will be an even more dangerous team.

St. Louis is still four games out of first in the NL Central but we project the Cardinals to win the NL Central with an 87-75 record. The Redbirds have a 57.8 percent chance of winning the NL Central according to our MLB Future Picks.

Three Down



Boston Red Sox
May: 13 Wins, 15 Losses, .464 Win Percentage
Season: 25 wins – 29 losses, 6 games out of first in AL East

The Red Sox lost ten straight for the first time since 2001. The odds of Boston losing ten games in a row were 1,563 to 1. Before the losing streak the defending champions were projected to win the AL East, after the streak the Red Sox were projected to finish last in the division.

All is not lost. Immediately following the losing streak, Boston went on a seven game winning streak. Boston is no longer projected to finish last in the division but a 79-83 record won't win the AL East. The Red Sox have 6.9 percent chance of winning the AL East.

New York Mets
May: 11 Wins, 18 Losses, .379 Win Percentage
Season: 25 wins – 29 losses, 4 games out of first in NL East

In the Mets 52-year history they have twice had seven straight years of losing records and one other streak that lasted six straight years. The Metropolitans have not had a winning season since 2008 and the way 2014 is trending, Mets fans will endure a sixth straight losing season.

The Mets rank near the bottom of the league in both hitting (23rd) and pitching (26th) efficiency. New York is projected to finish second to last in the NL East with a 76-86 record. Mets have just a 2.8 percent chance of winning the NL East.

Kansas City Royals
April: 12 Wins, 17 Losses, .414 Win Percentage
Season: 26 wins – 28 losses, 6.5 games out of first in AL Central

How bad has it been in Kansas City? The Astros, the worst team by record (at the time) in the American League and the worst team in our Power Rankings, swept the Royals in May. Kansas City desperately wants to end its 28-year postseason drought but the schedule in June does not get any easier, 25 of the next 28 games are against teams that have above .500 records.

The Royals are projected to finish second to last in the AL Central with a 77-85 record. Kansas City has a 4.2 percent chance of winning the AL Central according to our MLB Future Picks.