Baseball

Giants top three of four polls in baseball rankings roundup

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy extends a handshake to Brandon Belt (9) and Buster Posey (28) after they both scored on Brandon Crawford’s double against the Arizona Diamondbacks duringf a baseball game on Sunday, July 10, 2016, in San Francisco. The Giants reached the All-Star break with the best record in the majors – 57-33.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy extends a handshake to Brandon Belt (9) and Buster Posey (28) after they both scored on Brandon Crawford’s double against the Arizona Diamondbacks duringf a baseball game on Sunday, July 10, 2016, in San Francisco. The Giants reached the All-Star break with the best record in the majors – 57-33. The Associated press

Not surprisingly, the Giants, who own the best record in baseball at the All-Star break, lead in three of the four polls sampled here (ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today and SI.com).

That makes sense, given their superior record and their 5-1 record last week.

Meanwhile, the folks at USA Today have the Giants ranked third, behind the free-falling Cubs, who went 2-5, and the Rangers, who were also 2-5 last week. It’s the same top three USA Today had a week ago, which is curious, because the two-week record of those teams shows the Giants (8-5) still having more success than the Cubs or Rangers (both 5-9).

But what’s one poll among four?

California’s other four major league teams are moving very little. The Dodgers check in with an average ranking of 7.75, the Padres 24.75, The Angels 25.0 and the A’s, 25.75.

Sorting the data:

Giants

Average rank: 1.5

Average change: +1.25

High/low: 1/3

From Bleacher Report (No. 1): “Considering their recent success has come with the likes of Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Cory Gearrin on the disabled list, it’s reasonable to think the Giants can get significantly better even if they don’t make any major deadline additions.”

Dodgers

Average rank: 7.75

Average change: -.75

High/low: 7/9

From ESPN (No. 8): “The bullpen, as well as Dodgers fans, are hoping for a quick return by Clayton Kershaw. Since Kershaw’s win over the Nationals on June 20, only one Dodgers pitcher has lasted seven innings in a start (Kenta Maeda in Sunday’s win over the Padres). The pen has held up very well to this point, fashioning a major league best 2.83 ERA.”

Angels

Average rank: 25.0

Average change: +1.75

High/low: 23/27

From ESPN (No. 23): “Remember when Mike Trout had trouble against high fastballs? In 2014, he hit .076 with a .549 OPS against pitches in the upper third of the strike zone. In 2016: .324/.621/.595.”

Padres

Average rank: 24.75

Average change: +1.25

High/low: 22/23

From SI.com (No. 22): “… Matt Kemp, who’s owed $21.75 million a year through 2019. At age 31 and with the sixth-worst on-base percentage in the N.L., he won’t go anywhere unless the Friars cover tens of millions of dollars to make him go away.”

A’s

Average rank: 25.75

Average change: -.5

High/low: 25/27

From USA Today (No. 25): “”We’ll take either.” – (A’s manager Bob) Melvin on Cuban signee (Lazaro) Arementeros’ comparisons to (Yoenis) Cespedes, Big Hurt (Frank Thomas).”

Compiled by Jeff Caraska

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