Tag:Power Rankings
Posted on: April 6, 2009 7:05 am
Edited on: April 6, 2009 8:27 am
 

Power Rankings: Week 1

1. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs winning the National League Central is the easiest no brainer of all six MLB divisions and they should make their third consecutive postseason appearance. Whether or not they win when they get there is still up for debate. The only surprise this spring from manager Lou Piniella was naming Kevin Gregg the closer over Carlos Marmol. While Marmol is the likely closer of the future for the Cubs, I don't think this affects their win shares. While Gregg was ineffective at closing games in 2008, he did convert 90% of his opportunities the season prior.


2. Boston Red Sox
The more I start thinking about the Red Sox offseason moves, the more and more I like them. This team has a solid base of both young and old that should put wins on the board. The Red Sox probably have the most depth of any team in the majors at starting pitching and that should work to their advantage. Aside from getting John Smoltz back halfway throughout the year, if any player were to go down with an injury Clay Buchholtz and Michael Bowden are waitining patiently in AAA. I still want to see whether or not Kevin Youkilis' rise in power numbers last season was a fluke or not.


3. New York Yankees
If everyone were healthy, I'd be ranking the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox here. However, that's not the case as Alex Rodriguez is slated to miss the first month and a half of the season. Couple that with the fact that April is usually Mark Teixeira worst month, and the Yankees get a lower ranking than the Red Sox. However, this Yankees pitching staff is much improved from last year and that should carry them. Joba Chamberlain will get his first full season as a starter this year and could very well emerge into an ace.


4. Tampa Bay Rays
With the Rays being the third American League East team in the first four spots of my power rankings, it should show how highly I think of this division. However, the Rays may be one of the best teams in the American League this year and still not make the playoffs. The first two weeks of the season should test them as the Rays match up against the Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, and White Sox. I still don't agree with the decision to send David Price back to AAA as he has nothing left to prove at that level.


5. Arizona Diamondbacks
If the Diamondbacks start the season off slow, there really is no excuse for it. The team only has four...yes, I said "4"...road games in April this year as the other eighteen games are played at home in Chase Field. The success of the Diamondbacks in 2009 will depend on how well their young position players will develop. Chris Young is my pick to emerge this year as Young hit .324 in camp with the team and has a ton of power. Couple an improved offense with Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and Max Scherzer in the rotation and this team is built to compete.


6. Cleveland Indians
The Tribe was one of the hottest teams exiting 2008 and they managed to finish the year at .500 despite various injuries to their superstars and trading away their best pitcher mid-season. This season, the Indians enter 2009 rejuvinated and healthy as both Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner enter the middle of the order. The team has made great offseason acquisitions in Mark DeRosa, Joe Smith, and Kerry Wood. After a strong spring I expect Fausto Carmona to rebound to his 2007 form, and alongside Cliff Lee, lead this Indians team back into contention.


7. New York Mets
Shea no more. The Mets enter 2009 with a new season, new ballpark, and a renewed focus towards winning the National League East. I absolutely love the recent signing of Gary Sheffield as it could pay huge dividends for the team. Even though Sheffield only batted around .225 last season, he still posted an OPS+ of 90. It was well worth the risk to see if he can regain even his 2007 form, cause even if he doesn't, the contract is minimal. Couple that with the additions of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz and it was a surprisingly great offseason for general  manager Omar Minaya.


8. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies may move up in my rankings a bit more this month simply because they have a fairly easy schedule in April (aside from their three game set with Atlanta). After facing the Braves in the opening series, the Philllies match up against Colorado (3), Washington (6), San Diego (4), Milwaukee (3), and Florida (3). Any easy April schedule could do wonders for the team as they can ride the early success all season long. However, if they stumble out the gate, things will only get harder as the schedule gets tougher down the road.


9. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodger have one of the best lineups in the National League with Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, Manny Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, James Loney and Matt Kemp all playing regularily. However, it's the pitching staff that worries me. Chad Billingsley is solid, Hiroki Kuroda showed last season that he can hold his own, and Randy Wolf is average, but Clayton Kershaw is still young and the team has an unproven James McDonald as their 5th starter. If any one of these guys go down during the course of the season, the team has no one to turn to unless Jason Schmidt miraculously learns how to pitch again.


10. Atlanta Braves
I had the Braves ranked much lower in my winter rankings over the offseason...so what's changed since then?....Nothing...except for my opinion of the team. The Braves are back to being a team deep with starting pitching. The rotatino of Lowe, Jurjjens, Vasquez, and Kawakami could be the best in the division. Meanwhile, young Tommy Hanson is going to wait patiently in the minors to get his shot and Tim Hudson could rejoin the staff in August. The key for the Braves this season though is going to be keeping Chipper healthy. If they can, they could go far this season.


11. Minnesota Twins
I have no business ranking the Twins this high right now, but I'm going to do it anyway. Joe Mauer and Scott Baker are both injured to start the season and I have no faith in this teams offense whatsoever. Unless Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young learn to take a walk, the Twins are going to have a hard time winning ballgames. Then again, I said the same thing a year ago and they were a play-in game away from making the postseason. This ranking is based on credibility, as I'm going to give this team the benefit of the doubt. However, if they struggle early on I'll have no problem moving them lower.


12. Los Angeles Angels
Under normal circumstances, the Angels would be a lock to break my top 10. However, these aren't normal circumstances. Ace John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Kelvim Escobar are all slated to miss at least the first month of the season (if not more). Their replacements? Shane Loux, Dustin Moseley, and Nick Adenhart. Luckily for the Angels their schedule isn't too hard to begin the year, but if they start off slow, it could make things very interesting in the west if a team like Oakland or Texas catches fire early.


13. Detroit Tigers
Risky Business....That's what Dave Dombrowski is doing in Detroit. Waiving Gary Sheffield and eating 14 million dollars was the stupidest move I've seen a GM make this offseason. Especially because of the timing. At least wait a month into the season to see if Sheffield can regain his form from the previous season. Dombrowski is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle as he is starting the team off with Porcello in the rotation and Larish at designated hitter. This could either pay off huge dividends for the team, or be one giant mistake. Time will tell.


14. Chicago White Sox
The good news for the White Sox is that Josh Fields and Chris Getz both looked solid in camp for the club. The bad news for the team is that they still have Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras in their rotation and both have looked awful so far this spring. Colon hasn't looked good since his 2005 Cy Young season with the Angels while Contreras hasn't been much of a factor since the 2006 season. The replacements, Clayton Richard and Jeff Marquez are both two pitchers that I once projected to be career major league relievers. Meanwhile, Carlos Quentin is still a questionmark as a superstar in my book.


15. St. Louis Cardinals
So there is this rumor going around that Khalil Greene might hit cleanup for the Cardinals in 2009.....Ummmm....Intentional walk anyone? Tony LaRussa is basically taking the bat straight out of Albert Pujols hands. A career .248 hitter, Greene shouldn't be protecting anyone in the lineup. I know Troy Glaus is hurt, but at the very least, the Cardinals should at least have Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel hitting behind Pujols. A make or break player on  their team could be Chris Carpenter. If he can return anywhere near 2006 form, the Cardinals will still be in good shape.


16. Milwaukee Brewers
The good news? Yovanni Gallardo is legit...The bad news? The rest of the rotation and that bullpen isn't, so Ryan Braun and company have a ton of pressure to put runs on the board. The team will be tested early on with an opening week series against Chicago and will be matched up against the Mets and Phillies the following week after that. I do like the changes newly hired manager Ken Macha has done with the lineup though, and I think it will help the team put more runs on the board.


17. Oakland Athletics
Now I'm starting to question Bob Geren's decision making abilities. Explain this to me, how does a player with a ton of talent lose his starting job and get passed up by three different pitchers on the depth chart, while only having a worse spring than one of them. Such is the case with Sean Gallagher, who may find himself sitting in the Oakland bullpen, rather than starting the fifth game of the year. He is being overlapped by Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Josh Outman in the rotation and only Anderson performed better this spring (Cahill and Outman had worse era, Outman even had worse splits).


18. Toronto Blue Jays

The award for the most forgotten about team and biggest dark horse candidate for 2009 has to go to the Toronto Blue Jays. After all, who cares if a team wins 86 games the previous season when they finish in 4th....right? While the Blue Jays lost 60% of their starting rotation to injuries or free agency, their two most effective pitchers, Roy Halladay and Jesse Litsch, are still in their rotation for 2009. Meanwhile, the Jays also carry with them one of the best bullpens in baseball. The offense should be improved as well as Travis Snider will be getting regular at bats all year long.


19. Texas Rangers

With the way the other rotations look right now in the American League West, I can't rule this team out at the beginning of the season like I have in years past. Much of Oakland's pitching staff is unexperienced, whlie the best pitchers on the Angels staff remain on the shelf due to injuries. The Rangers once again have one of the best hitting lineups in the game, but their pitching staff will have to hold its own as well for this team to go anywhere. The sooner Neftali Feliz and Derrick Holland hit the big leagues, the better off this club will be.


20. Colorado Rockies

Two Words....Ryan....Spilborghs...This kid is going to make the Rockies forget all about Matt Holliday. He's been one of the most underrated players in the league and has posted solid numbers for the Rockies the past two seasons. This spring, Spilborghs hit .318/.372/.712 in 66 at bats. Sure it's a small sample size, but the talent is obviously there. Now, if the Rockies could figure out how to pitch, they could actually make things interesting in the National League West.


21. San Francisco Giants

If only this team had an impact bat, they could compete. Meanwhile, the years that the Giants have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain under control are wasting away. It will be interesting to see how well Sandoval and first basemen Travis Ishikawa do in their first full season in the big leagues as both are coming off of hot springs. The Giants will be tested early in their division as 17 of their first 20 games of the year come against National League West division rivals.


22. Cincinatti Reds
When will the Cincinatti Reds break out?...That is the question I think most baseball analysts are trying to predict and it's rather difficult to tell. The Reds have a great base of young players, featuring Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Chris Dickerson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Joey Votto. The talent is there for the team to start winning ballgames, but the players just need to mature. The team is going to be tested the first week of the season as they start out with a three game set at home against the New York Mets.


23. Houston Astros

The Astros could fall even further in my rankings if my instincts about their starting pitching staff play out. After Roy Oswalt, the Astros have a rotation that consists of Wandy Rodriguez, Mike Hampton, Brian Moehler, and Russ Ortiz....Wait, Russ Ortiz? Is that seriously how bad the rotation is right now? The bullpen is one of the Astros strengths but it's going to be used up after Hampton hits the DL and Moehler and Ortiz leave after 3 innings of terrible pitching. There are Triple-A teams that have better rotations than what the Astros are throwing out there this season.


24. Baltimore Orioles

I like the vision by team president Andy MacPhail. The Orioles aren't going to be good this season, but at least MacPhail isn't pretending to be a contender and is actually looking towards the future. Adam Jones should continue to develop, Matt Wieters should be up halfway through the season, and Nick Markakis is locked up long term giving the team a solid base for the future. If anything becomes of Felix Pie or Rich Hill this season, that becomes an added bonus as the team gave up nothing of value to acquire those two players from the Cubs.


25. Washington Nationals

Kudos to the Nationals for signing Adam Dunn. Even more kudos for pulling off the Scott Olsen/Josh Willingham trade over the offseason and also starting Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation....but now that Jim Bowden is gone, you don't have to act like he's still there. Austin Kearns doesn't deserve to be starting over Elijah Dukes and Josh Willingham. Heck, he doesn't even deserve a roster spot as of right now. The sooner the Nationals bench Kearns, the better their team gets.


26. Florida Marlins

I don't get it....The team is starting Emilio Bonafacio at third base, demoted Gaby Sanchez, waived Dallas McPherson, traded for Ross Gload, kept Dan Meyer in the bullpen despite the terrible spring, etc, etc, etc.....Are the Marlins trying to lose? I mean, I understand Larry Beinfest's track record at being able to find quality young players, but I can't understand a single move the Marlins made this winter. Most experts have the Marlins finishing between 1st and 3rd in this division, yet I don't see how they'll avoid a dead last finish. Is there something I'm missing here?


27. Kansas City Royals

The offseason moves of the Kansas City Royals baffle me. They traded away two main components of their bullpen to add a defensive centerfielder and a first basemen who never takes a walk. Then, they spent four million dollars, the same amount the Athletics signed Orlando Cabrera for, to sign Kyle Farnsworth, a pitcher whose era last season was almost 7. Dayton Moore might have been a breath of fresh air from the kind of deals Allan Baird was making, but he still isn't showing me much as a GM.


28. Seattle Mariners

I had the Mariners higher up in my winter rankings, but this demotion falls directly in line with Ichiro starting the season on the disabled list. With Endy Chavez now batting leadoff, the Mariners might have a hard time scoring runs early on. Meanwhile, my other ranking also was assuming that Brandon Morrow would be a starter instead of the teams closer. I'm not expecting much from the Mariners this season and Erik Bedard remains a great bet to be traded at the deadline.


29. San Diego Padres

At least the Padres still have one of the best pitchers in the league in Jake Peavy and one of the best first basemen in the league in Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres are unlikely to be a contender in 2009, but they can still win their fare share of ballgames. I don't expect them to be 100 game losers or anything, especially considering PETCO favors the talent level on the roster. If the Padres see improvements from Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff, they should be happy.


30. Pittsburgh Pirates
This team is guaranteed to lose 100 games or more in 2009. Not only did they not make a single move this offseason, but the minor league system is still terrible and this year, they can't even play half of their games with Xavier Nady or Jason Bay in the lineup. They better hope the LaRoche brothers can put some fans in the seats. It's gonna be a long season for the Pirates.

 

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 20, 2009 1:57 am
 

BP's Rewind: Winter Rankings 2009

It's been a little over a year since I did my last version of winter rankings (the first featured blog on CBS), but now that we are less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it is time to have a look at where each team stands this season. The offseason has been a long, slow, and drawn out process. Several impact players, including Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn have yet to sign with a team. It is because of this reason, that I will be continually editing this blog entry as those players sign.

While the Phillies are the defending champions, they have remained rather complacent on the free agent market which begs to question whether or not the team can repeat last years success. Meanwhile, the Yankees have had the biggest offseason of any team, but will a team full of superstars finally get the job done? Also, the Rays were baseballs surprise team of 2008. Can they repeat the success? Who will be the surprise team in 2009?......These questions and more are answered in my latest rankings.

Winter Rankings


1. Chicago Cubs
Say all you want about the Cubs playoff misfortunes, but this team is the real deal. Milton Bradley, arguably the games best offensive player last season, joins the Cubs offense that scored the most runs in baseball last year. Couple that with the teams stable pitching staff featuring Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Rich Harden and this team should easily run away with the National League Central for the second year in a row. I'm predicting a 100 win season.

2. New York Yankees
While the team has lost both Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi in free agency, the additions of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira more than make up for it. The Yankees now have a well rounded team. They now have one of the best offenses in the league with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and the top 3 in their rotation should win them plenty of ballgames. If they can get a full season out of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, look out.

3. Tampa Bay Rays
Often times one year wonders like the Rays don't return to the postseason because they remain too complacent in the offseason. However, the Rays managed to land Pat Burrell for a bargain price of 8 million a season to replace Cliff Floyd in the lineup and the teams starting rotation will naturally get better with David Price entering the rotation.


4. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox had a relatively quiet offseason with minor deals made. The team is still one of the best in the league, but has many questions to answer for 2009. Was Kevin Youkilis' increase in power for real? Can Jason Bay truly fill Manny's shoes in left? Will Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Brad Penny, and John Smoltz be healthy and how much can they contribute? The Sox are still a talented teams, but these factors are going to determine whether or not they win baseball's best division.

5. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had a dissapointing 2008 season finishing 82-80, two games out of first place in the NL West. Despite losing Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Johnson this offseason the D-backs get my vote of confidence as one of the NL's top teams entering 2009. They have a solid three in the rotation with Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and Max Scherzer. Meanwhile, I'm counting on the young stars to improve.

6. Cleveland Indians
The Indians lost C.C. Sabathia this season, but it shouldn't affect the team too much as long as Fausto Carmona gets back on track. Cliff Lee's breakout season also helps alleviate that. The team is still without a starting right fielder as Franklin Gutierrez was traded away. Adam Dunn would make more sense than Matt LaPorta as LaPorta has struggled since coming over in the Sabathia deal. The bullpen has gotten a lot better as well with the addition of Kerry Wood and I expect this team to compete.

7. New York Mets
The Mets have been baseball's biggest choke artists over the past two seasons. On paper, they certainly are a much better team than anyone in their division. Whether or not they can finally get the job done, is another question. This team should win 95 games this year, but in order for that to happen, someone on the team will have to step up as a leader. If the team is in contention in August or September, a bullpen of Wagner, Putz, and Roriguez remains the scariest 7-8-9 in the league.

8. Philadelphia Phillies
Not a good offseason for the champs. First, the team overpaid for Raul Ibanez (another lefty) to replace Pat Burrell in the lineup. Second, J.C. Romero has to serve a 50 game suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. Third, No one outside of Cole Hamels scares me in that rotation. And lastly, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Feliz still have starting jobs in baseball. Uggh....

9. Los Angeles Angels
The gap has certainly closed in on the Angels in the American League West. Without Mark Teixeira, Garrett Anderson, or Francisco Rodriguez, they certainly don't scare teams the way they used to. Brian Fuentes is an adequate replacement for K-Rod, but I can't understand why they didn't just pony up a few extra to keep their star in town. Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera remain questioable replacements and the team will once again rely on Vlad and the starting pitchers to win ballgames.

10. Chicago White Sox
White Sox GM Ken Williams is one GM whose moves I can never understand, but they seem to work out right in the end. The Sox still are without a centerfielder and a second basemen going into next season, and there are questions as to whether Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks can repeat their 2008 success. For now though, I'm giving the Sox the benefit of the doubt. I really like the Bartolo Colon signing, as it has the makings of a low risk, high reward type deal.

11. Detroit Tigers
Don't count out the Tigers. While the Tigers finished last place in the American League Central last season, they were still third in the league in overall offense. Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, and Nate Robertson all had their worst seasons as pros. The offense should remain just as good as it was and if Verlander can return to form, the team should be able to compete. Edwin Jackson and Gerald Laird were both nice, under the radar acquisitions by GM Dave Dombrowksi.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers
With this ranking, I'm assuming Manny Ramirez is going to be a Dodger. If it turns out to be different, I will change the ranking accordingly. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is about to find out what life is likek without Paul DePodesta's players. The losses of Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, and Jeff Kent will affect this team greatly. Unless the Dodgers give have Jason Schmidt go to some miracle worker, I don't know where this team is going to get a rotation that will compete.

13. Minnesota Twins
The Twins offense is their weakness. Both Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez featured low on base percentages last season which isn't helping the team at all. The teams offense really is only as good as Joe Mauer's knees as Justin Morneau can't do everything on his own. However, if the team can get similar production to 2008 from it's young pitchers in the rotation for 2009, this team will always have a chance to compete.

14. Oakland Athletics
The trades of Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Nick Swisher, and Mark Kotsay a year ago have paid off. The A's enter 2009 with one of the best minor league systems in the game and an offense that's ready to close the gap in the American League West. The acquisitions of Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi give the A's a ton of power in the 3-6 spots and Eric Chavez is supposed to be fully healthy headed into next year giving the teams young pitching a better chance to win.

15. Milwaukee Brewers
While the Brewers lost both C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets this offseason, its not as if they all of a sudden have a bad team. The team didn't have Sabathia for the first half of last year anyway and they've played several seasons with Sheets on the DL multiple times. The offensive remains intact with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way. If Yovanni Gallardo can remain healthy, I'm sure the Brewers can put together a respectable season.

16. St. Louis Cardinals
I really don't know what to think of the Cardinals. I'm not convinced that their pitching staff can hold up all season long, even if Chris Carpenter is fully healthy. Albert Pujols remains the best first basemen in the National League, but he isn't going to get much help. The Khalil Greene trade won't improve the offense that much and who knows if Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel can keep it up with their bats.

17. Atlanta Braves
What a bad offseason for Braves fans. The farm system is depleted. They missed out on both A.J. Burnett and Rafael Furcal and allowed John Smoltz to sign cheaply with the Red Sox. However, this team still remains a dark horse candidate in the NL East. The starting rotation should be pretty good still with Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vasquez, and Kenshin Kawakami manning the first four spots. If they can stay in contention until August, Tim Hudson will be on his way back.

18. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays finished 2008 with a respectable 86-76 record in the American League. However, the team has lost A.J. Burnett in free agency and hasn't made any major additions. Shaun Marcum is out for the season with Tommy John Surgery and Dustin McGowan is out at least for the first month. If they can make it past the first month of the season okay, they might be considered a dark horse candidate in the tough AL East. However, don't expect much.

19. Texas Rangers
The Rangers haven't made any major additions this offseason and have let Milton Bradley walk. 2009 will be an interesting year for the team. It will most likely be the last time we see Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla in a Rangers uniform and also could feature the debuts of shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland. Also, we'll see Chris Davis mature into a solid power hitter. As always, if this team could pitch, they'd win games, but that's unlikely for 2009.

20. San Francisco Giants
With Noah Lowry coming back from injury and the addition Randy Johnson, the Giants have a pretty deep starting five heading into 2009. However, where will the offense come from? The team does not have a superstar offensive player and the market is drying up quickly. If they can't get their hands on Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu, they might once again be wasting all that good pitching, Such a shame. Giants fans deserve better.

21. Colorado Rockies
I must be crazy, because I might be the only one that thinks the team trading Matt Holliday will help the Rockies. Huston Street replaces Brian Fuentes as the teams closer and Ryan Spilborghs, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ian Stewart now battle for time in the outfield. The rotation is better with Greg Smith in it and I don't think the offense will be affected. Not in that park at least. Ryan Spilborghs might be the best player no one knows about.

22. Florida Marlins
The Marlins might have finished 84-77 last season, but I'm not a believer in them....yet. The team foolishly traded Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Nationals for nothing important. The Mike Jacobs trade will only be a good deal if Dallas McPherson can take his success from AAA last year and bring it with him to the majors. Also, there are questions as to whether this starting pitching can hold up and whether Jorge Cantu can repeat his 2008 performance.

23. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners didn't get much back in return for J.J. Putz and they haven't done anything significant to improve their lousy offense as well. The team will rely on youngsters to break through this season including Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement. Their pitching should keep them in ballgames with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Brandon Morrow in the rotation, but if they are out of it early, you can expect the team to start shopping Bedard.

24. Cincinatti Reds
The Reds have a bright future ahead of them with young stars such as Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez, and Johnny Cueto breaking through last season. Each of these youngsters are expected to continue to develop into solid ballplayers. The question remains as to whether or not this is the year the Reds finally start coming together as a team. They certainly have the foundations, but whether or not they are ready to translate that into a winning ballclub is up in the air.

25. Houston Astros
Ugggh. That's about all I can say about Astros GM Ed Wade. His trade of Brad Lidge for Michael Bourn last season looks worse and worse by the day. While the Astros finished strong last season, it was only because Wade's false sense of hope that they were somehow still in the race last year. Smart GM's would have sold. This team has no farm system and quite frankly, Mike Hampton isn't going to solve their pitching problems.

26. Baltimore Orioles
The bad news? The Orioles aren't going anywhere next season. The good news? Team President Andy MacPhail knows this and is positioning the team to develop for the future. The Felix Pie trade was a great trade for MacPhail and now the Orioles have the best outfield defense in the game. I really look forward to seeing Matt Wieters transition to the big leagues this year as well. The team has no starting pitching to speak of outside of Guthrie, but help is on the way in the minors.

27. San Diego Padres
With Jake Peavy on board, the Padres still have a respectable pitching staff and an offense led by one of the games best first basemen (Adrian Gonzalez). They could compete if things fall right offensively for them, especially considering their division, but that would require Chase Headley to stop swinging blindly and actually develop offensively. The best thing for Padres fans will be to get the sale of the team done as soon as possible.

28. Kansas City Royals
Coco Crisp? Kyle Farnsworth? Willie Bloomquist? Mike Jacobs? The Royals are going nowhere. The team has completely given up on Mark Teahen ever becoming something useful and now fans are growing impatient with both Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Zach Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Gil Meche are the few bright spots on the Royals for 2009, but it will take another two years for their farm system to catch up and replace the mismanagement of the team under former GM Allan Baird.

29. Washington Nationals
The Scott Olsen and Josh WIllingham trade with Florida was a good one for the Nats, but they need a lot of work. Austin Kearns needs to be benched, but won't because of his contract and GM Jim Bowdens obsession with his former Reds players. The team would be better off with an outfield of Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge, and Willingham, but it probably won't happen. Meanwhile, Nick Johnson needs to be healthy for this team to have any chance.

30. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have done NOTHING this offseason. They enter 2009 without both Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, who they had in the first half of last season. They do get a full season of Andy LaRoche at 3rd base, but this team is going absolutely nowhere and is by far the worst team in baseball heading into 2009.
Posted on: May 13, 2008 1:53 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 7

Coming to you every Monday......

Note: games played on Monday are not taken into consideration and will be counted in next weeks rankings.

Week:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


1. Chicago Cubs (22-15)
Previous Ranking:
2
Alfonso Soriano is starting to regain his stroke as he's hit .391 over the past week to help propel the Cubs to a sweep of the Diamondbacks over the weekend. The Cubs offense is firing on all cylinders as the team has four starters in the lineup with an average of .320 or better and the team leads the National League in hits, runs, RBI, and on base percentage. Carlos Zambrano (5-1, 1.80 era) and Ryan Dempster (4-1, 2.76 era) have been dominating opposing batters as well.

2. Oakland Athletics (23-16)
Previous Ranking:
6
A solid start to the week was once again disrupted by the team losing 2 of 3 to the Rangers over the weekend. Regardless, the A's were 4-2 last week and have jumped to sole possession of first place in the American League West. A lot of people will continue to question the A's offense, but the team has scored the second most runs in the American League. As far as team OPS goes, all that becomes erroneous when you hit .302 with runners in scoring position.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (23-15)
Previous Ranking:
1
After going 20-8 in the month of April, the Diamondbacks have started out just 3-6 in the month of May. The pitching just hasn't been their the last week as the Diamondbacks gave up a total of 32 runs in six games against the Phillies and Cubs. However, Brandon Webb (8-0, 2.41 era) is shutting down opposing hitters and he's putting himself in great position to win his second Cy Young Award in the past three seasons. Eric Byrnes (.225, 3 HR) has yet to live up to his new contract.

4. St. Louis Cardinals (23-16)
Previous Ranking:
4
It wasn't a great week for the Cardinals as they only split a four game set at Colorado and lost 2 of 3 on the road to Milwaukee. I find it amazing that Rick Ankiel couldn't find a catchers mit 60 feet away from him, but can gun out the Rockies best speedsters with precision from much much further. The Cardinals have been getting great production from Ryan Ludwick, but one wonders just how long he can keep it up. The 29 year old journeyman is setting career highs in just about every offensive category.
5. Boston Red Sox (24-16)
Previous Ranking:
5
The biggest surprise in Boston has to be the play of Kevin Youkilis. So far, Youkilis is hitting .319/.400/.603 with 29 RBI, 26 runs, 20 walks and a team leading 8 home runs. Meanwhile, David Ortiz is finally starting to come out of his slow start as he hit .320 with 2 home runs, and 4 RBI last week. The Red Sox have to be concerned with Daisuke Matsuzaka's wildness. Sure, Matsuzaka's era is low, but his 30 walks is second most in the majors. Eventually, that will catch up to him.

6. Florida Marlins (23-14)
Previous Ranking:
12
We've been ignoring the team in south beach for too long now and it's time we paid them some respect. The Marlins are scoring runs with the best of them and are second in the majors with 53 home runs. Meanwhile, the bullpen has been outstanding as well. Marlins fans can also be happy as the team locked up Hanley Ramirez--arguably the best shortstop in the game--to a new six year contract extension.

7. New York Mets (19-16)
Previous Ranking:
7
The Mets wouldn't be anywhere right now if it weren't for the strong play of outfielder Ryan Church. While I still believe Milledge will be the better player in the long run, the move has worked out so far throughout the first month and a half of the season. Looking at the teams pitching, Oliver Perez only has one quality start so far and has been ineffective along with Mike Pelfrey and Nelson Figueroa. On the bright side though, Billy Wagner has yet to give up a run in just just under 14 innings pitched.

8. Los Angeles Angels (22-17)
Previous Ranking:
3
The Angels go as Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana go. With both of them losing to Tampa Bay, the Angels have found themselves on a four game skid. I find it amazing that Mike Napoli leads the Angels in home runs, when he's only played in half of the teams games. If only Napoli could learn to play defense, he'd be in the lineup everyday. His platoon partner, Jeff Mathis, has thrown out 37% of all attempted base stealers while Napoli has only thrown out 23%.

9. Philadelphia Phillies (21-18)
Previous Ranking:
8
The Phillies couldn't find any consistency last week as they split with Arizona and lost two of three to the Giants. The teams offense has slowed down considerably since the start of May. The Phillies are batting just .228 as a team this month, which is second worst in the National League. Ryan Howard already broke the single season strikeout record last season and he's on pace to do it again this year. He regressed considerably since his MVP year in 2006.

10. Tampa Bay Rays (21-16)
Previous Ranking:
18
It was an impressive week for the Rays as they took of three from the Blue Jays and swept the Angels at home. This team is starting to play very well and I believe they can keep it up all season long. I was a little skeptic at the beginning of the season because the team had Evan Longoria in the minor leagues. However, now that Longoria is up and the starting pitching at a level it's never been at before, the Rays could make a strong push for postseason baseball.

11. New York Yankees (19-19)
Previous Ranking:
9
The Yankees looked to Kei Igawa last week and he couldn't get out of the 4th inning. However, I think it's a mistake for the Yankees to give up on him after just the one start. The Yankees tend to overreact in these things and it's only a matter of time until we hear another idiotic comment from Hank Steinbrenner. I like the idea of the Yankees bringing back David Wells, but even if the team decides against it, free agent right hander Freddy Garcia should on their radar.

12. Houston Astros (20-17)
Previous Ranking:
20
Well look what a week will do.....The Astros are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now as they have won 8 of their last 9 games, including sweeps against the Brewers and Dodgers in that time frame. Lance Berkman is hitting a ridiculous .682 in his past 7 games and has an OPS of 1.877 in that time frame. Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt is finally starting to come around as he's had 4 quality starts in his last 5 outings.

13. Atlanta Braves (18-17)
Previous Ranking:
13
If you want further proof that the Braves are losing series to teams they should beat, just look at this past weekend as the team dropped it's first two games against the Pirates. After starting out with one of the easiest schedules in the league, the Braves will have a brutal two and a half weeks ahead of them as they face the Phillies, A's, Mets, Diamondbacks, and Brewers in consecutive series. The only thing working in the Braves advantage is the fact that they play only 6 of those away from home.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (19-17)
Previous Ranking:
11
Just when we thought the Dodgers were starting to turn it around, the team drops four in a row at home. However, because the Diamondbacks have struggled this month, it's not hurting the team at all. The Dodgers top 3 starters have not been performing as well as many expected. However, Hiroki Kuroda, who was projected as a 5th starter by many scouts, has been very effective. Meanwhile, how many at bats do you give Andruw Jones before you start ti sit him on the bench?

15. Minnesota Twins (19-17)
Previous Ranking:
15
The Twins are yet another small market team leading their division. Part of the reason is that the team is 9-4 in one run ballgames, which is the best in the majors. The Twins offense is much like Oakland's where they haven't had a lot of home runs, but have succeeded at hitting with runners in scoring position. The pitching has been average thus far, though the bullpen did take a hit with the loss of Pat Neshek for the season.

16. Chicago White Sox (18-18)
Previous Ranking:
17
Who would have thought that Carlos Quentin would be leading the American League in homers a month and a half into the season? Certainly not me. His play has helped keep the team at .500 as many of the White Sox's franchise players have struggled. Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, and Jim Thome have all struggled to hit the ball thus far. The only thing keeping the Sox from slipping further has been the teams strong bullpen. 6 of the 7 members of the pen have era's under 3.

17. Cleveland Indians (18-18)
Previous Ranking:
20
Slowly, the Indians have crept back up in the standings and are now only a game and a half behind the division leading Twins. If the team has a solid series against Oakland, who they are 2-4 against so far this year, I wouldn't be surprised if they were leading the division next week. However, it still remains to be seen as C.C. Sabathia is 2-7 with a 6.84 era lifetime against the team he once grew up rooting for.

18. Milwaukee Brewers (18-19)
Previous Ranking:
10
Why did it take Eric Gagne's admission that he was playing terrible to finally remove him from the closers role. I mean, shouldn't a good manager be able to see that in advance? Ned Yost is on the hot seat this season as the Brewers have continued to under perform their expectations. The team has a tough week ahead against Los Angeles and Boston. Let's just hope their ready for it.

19. Baltimore Orioles (19-19)
Previous Ranking:
16
After getting swept by Oakland to start the week, the Orioles were able to salvage their record by taking 3 of 4 in Kansas City. The team will get some much needed rest this week as they have off days on both Monday and Thursday meaning that all relievers should be available in the two game set against Boston. The Orioles may have no shot at the division this season, but it's obvious that progress is being made. Daniel Cabrera's improvement has been a huge encouragement so far.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (17-21)
Previous Ranking:
14
First J.P. Ricciardi gets rid of Frank Thomas and now Vernon Wells is out for two months with a broken wrist. Where are the Blue Jays going to look for offense? Brad Wilkerson? Matt Stairs? Shannon Stewart? Ricciardi's moves since becoming the Jays GM haven't made too much sense and this season has to be a huge letdown after many thought they stood a chance at the division this year. The Blue Jays are also mishandling Adam Lind as they have failed to get him consistent at bats.

21. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-19)
Previous Ranking:
27
The Pirates were undefeated this past week after sweeping the Giants and taking the first two from the Braves. Jason Bay looks to be regaining his form from years past and is hitting the ball nicely. If he keeps it up, he'll make a nice addition to a team looking to make a pennant run. The Pirates need to rebuild after former GM Dave Littlefield left the team in shambles and it still remains to be seen whether or not the team will send Bay and fellow teammate Xavier Nady packing at the deadline.

22. Texas Rangers (18-21)
Previous Ranking:
30
The Rangers continued to stay hot this past week against Seattle and Oakland and the improved play has given them a significant raise in the rankings. The Rangers are probably regretting the decision to not trade Marlon Byrd this past offseason. Byrd had a significant amount of value before the season started, but was hitting just .129 before landing on the DL. With the solid play of Brandon Boggs, there should be no room in the Rangers starting outfield for Byrd.

23. Detroit Tigers (16-22)
Previous Ranking:
21
This Tigers team just continues to struggle as they've won just two of their last seven games. The Tigers can't even look for a quick fix right now as they have no more trading chips (after trading the majority of the farm in the offseason) and there isn't anyone worth a look at on the market. The team just has to start playing better and it all starts with Justin Verlander at the front of that rotation. The team needs Verlander to be the stopper he was for them in years past.

24. Kansas City Royals (16-21)
Previous Ranking:
22
Jose Guillen might finally be starting to hit the ball, but it may be a little too late. The Royals play in the American League Central, so they aren't too far out of contention, but the offense isn't getting the job done and the pitching staff is getting raked. Gil Meche had a solid 2007 campaign, but his 2008 start is something to forget as he's just been god awful. Zach Greinke has been just about the only bright spot for the Royals this year.

25. San Francisco Giants (16-22)
Previous Ranking:
24
Barry Zito actually wasn't bad in his last start, but his run support has been downright awful this season. Meanwhile, Aaron Rowand has surprisingly lived up to his contract so far this season. The Giants offense (and defense for that matter) should get better with the return of Omar Vizquel from the disabled list. Brian Bocock's short stint with the team was pointless as it led to no extra wins for the team and wasted one of his options.

26. Seattle Mariners (15-24)
Previous Ranking:
23
I find it pretty hilarious that Kenji Johjima is getting benched quite a bit in favor of Jeff Clement. Sure, Clement is the obvious choice for the Mariners, but it just goes to show how bad the front office is as they gave Johjima a 3 year extension just a few weeks ago. Seattle has to be by far the biggest disappointment in the American League this season and I think much of the blame should be put on GM Bill Bavasi. However, you can expect manager John McLaren to get fired before Bavasi is touched.

27. Washington Nationals (15-23)
Previous Ranking:
25
If only Nick Johnson would make contact with the ball more often, he'd be one of the National League's best hitters. Despite Johnson batting a miserable .221, his on base percentage remains at .410. Everyone was skeptic about the Nationals starting pitching at the beginning of the season, but the offense has been the main problem. The Nationals don't have a single starter batting over .300 and 5 of the teams starters are batting under .250.

28. Cincinnati Reds (15-23)
Previous Ranking:
26
Dusty Baker has been a terrible manager so far for the Reds. Not only is he continuing to stick with Corey Patterson over Jay Bruce, but he can't even stop his players from batting out of order. This season has to pretty disappointing to most Reds fans, who envisioned the team taking strides toward the top of the division. Edinson Volquez and Aaron Harang have been solid for the Reds so far, but the rest of the staff struggling, I envision the team calling up Homer Bailey soon.

29. San Diego Padres (14-24)
Previous Ranking:
29
The Padres managed to keep themselves out of my power rankings basement by taking two of three from the Rockies last weekend, but they are playing some horrible baseball. The move to waive Jim Edmonds just further reinforces the offseason mistakes made by the team this past winter. They would have been much better off keeping Mike Cameron in center. Jake Peavy has been dominant once again this year, but only has 4 wins due to the teams lack of offense.

30. Colorado Rockies (15-23)
Previous Ranking:
28
The Rockies patented the use of the word "rocktober" last offseason, yet it looks like they won't get to make too much money off of it. Just about every Rockies starter not named Aaron Cook has been terrible this season. The Rockies only have 27 home runs this season, which is 13th place in the NL and the team is last in the NL in offense away from home. Something tells me that last years world series run was a fluke.....
Category: MLB
Posted on: May 6, 2008 8:38 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2008 8:39 pm
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Again, I had more important things to take care of, so the rankings are coming out a day late. However everything is retroactive to Monday morning...

Week: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


1. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-10)
Previous Ranking:
1
Even with Eric Byrnes and Chris Young struggling to hit the ball, the Diamondbacks offense is still on of the best in the league. Conor Jackson deserves a lot of that credit as he's hitting .343/.421/.590 with 5 home runs and a team leading 25 RBI (7th in National League). Meanwhile, Brandon Webb is looking for his 2nd Cy Young award as he's started out 7-0 with an era of just 2.45. Prospect Max Scherzer will make his major league debut this week against the Phillies.

2. Chicago Cubs (18-13)
Previous Ranking:
2Kerry Wood is having trouble closing out ballgames and it's leaving some Cub fans questioning whether or not Carlos Marmol (1.29 era in 21 IP) should take over that role. The main reason the Cubs have the best offense in the National League is because of the performance of their rookies. Both Geovanny Soto and Kosuke Fukudome are off to outstanding starts. Soto leads all NL Rookies in Home Runs, RBI and doubles while Fukudome leads them in average, hits, walks and runs.

3. Los Angeles Angels (20-13)
Previous Ranking:
3
The Angels are winning a lot of games, but it's not because of their bullpen. The Halos bullpen is 2-4 with an era of 4.94 on the season so far, which ranks 13th in the American League. In the series against Oakland this past week, the bullpen gave up 17 runs in 3 games (Saunders pitcher a complete game on Tuesday). The only thing making up for the poor bullpen performance is the continued dominance by Joe Saunders (6-0, 2.61 era) and Ervin Santana (5.0, 2.48 era).

4. St. Louis Cardinals (20-12)
Previous Ranking:
4
Mark Mulder is on his way back, but do the Cardinals really want him? In his three rehab starts so far in the minor leagues, Mulder has allowed 12 runs in 19.2 IP. The Cardinals starters are currently second in the National League in era and Mulder hasn't been an effective big league starter since 2005. Combine the two and it should be obvious what the Cardinals should do.

5. Boston Red Sox (20-13)
Previous Ranking:
6
The Red Sox may be MLB's streakiest team. After lossing 5 games in a row at the end of last week, the Red Sox have since won five of their last six games facing the Blue Jays and Rays. Part of the reason for the turnaround? Jon Lester is 1-0 with a 0.64 era in his last two starts. Even with David Ortiz struggling to start the season, the Red Sox offense has been the best in the American League to this point. The team needs better performances from the pen if they want to be more consistent.

6. Oakland Athletics (19-14)
Previous Ranking:
5
The A's are going to have to face some tough roster decisions when Rich Harden and Keith Foulke come back from the DL this week. Greg Smith--6 IP, 10 K's, 1 ER in his last start has been pitching lights out in the A's rotation since being called up. Travis Buck is also expected to come off the DL later this week, but could be demoted to AAA Sacramento with Emil Brown and Jack Cust leading the team in offense.

7. New York Mets (16-13)
Previous Ranking:
7
The Mets starting pitching has been the teams one bright spot that is keeping them in ballgames. Outside of Billy Wagner and Pedro Feliciano, the bullpen has been horrible and players like Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Delgado are all struggling to hit the ball. Moises Alou's return from the disabled list couldn't have come at any better of time as the team needs his bat in the lineup right now.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (18-14)
Previous Ranking:
10
The Phillies bullpen has been solid so far this season and it's amazing how much a change of scenery can help certain players (i.e. Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero). However, the starting pitching has been just mediocre. Cole Hamels is the only pitcher with an era under 4.50. Chase Utley and Pat Burrell are both making up for the lack of production from Ryan Howard and the injury to Jimmy Rollins. If Howard can turn it around, there's no telling what this offense could do.

9. New York Yankees (17-16)
Previous Ranking:
12
We all know what the Yankees are capable of and we all know they haven't lived up to expectations so far. Despite having both Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada on the DL and despite the terrible starts to the season by Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy, the team is still 17-16 and keeping pace with the division leaders. Once they start getting healthy and getting better production from the back end of the rotation, this team can take off.

10. Milwaukee Brewers (16-15)
Previous Ranking:
8
It was a rough week for the Brewers as the Cubs put 19 runs on the board against them early in the week, Yovanni Gallardo tore his ACL and is out the season, and the team got swept by the Astros. With Gallardo gone for the year, the team is going to have a difficult time keeping up with the Cubs and Cardinals in the central division. Not to mention, things only get more difficult as Eric Gagne keeps blowing saves.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (17-14)
Previous Ranking:
24
The Dodgers were on fire this week winning 5 of their 6 games played. The teams winning streak put them back into 2nd place in the National League West and only 3.5 games back of the division leading Diamondbacks. It seems as if Joe Torre has finally learned just how good of a player Matt Kemp can be. Kemp hit .407 this past week with 11 RBI. With Kemp, Juan Pierre, and Andre Ethierall hitting above .300, it's going to be hard to keep penciling in Andruw Jones in centerfield.

12. Florida Marlins (17-14)
Previous Ranking:
11
The Marlins still have Some of the NL's worst starting pitching, but it isn't because of Mark Hendrickson (5-1, 3.79 era) or Scott Olsen (3-1, 2.70 era). The teams bullpen is 6-4 with a 3.13 era thus far which is keeping them in close ballgames. Dan Uggla is starting to hit the ball very well and has 4 home runs in the past week along with 8 RBI.

13. Atlanta Braves (15-15)
Previous Ranking:
17
The Braves have a ton of pitchers on the disabled list, but are continuing to hang tough. Even at 15-15, the team is still only 2 games back in the division. John Smoltz has said he will be returning to the Braves as a reliever, but it's difficult to see if it will make the team better. Meanwhile, Mark Kotsay is surprising a lot of people (including myself) with his strong bat at the plate.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (15-17)
Previous Ranking:
19
Even though the team still sits in last place in the American League East, the Blue Jays are ranked better than both the Orioles and Rays because their strong starting pitching is still keeping them in ballgames. After losing two of three in Boston last week, the Jays responded with a strong effort to sweep the White Sox. Since returning from the disabled list, B.J. Ryan is 4 for 4 in save opportunities and has yet to give up a run this season.

15. Minnesota Twins (16-14)
Previous Ranking:
20
With a five game winning streak by the Twins and a five game losing streak by the White Sox, the Twins have found themselves in first place in the American League Central division. Joe Mauer seems to have regained his stroke and is now leading the team with a .333 batting average. However, who knows how long the Twins can keep this up. The teams 63 walks is worst in the American League by a huge margin.

16. Baltimore Orioles (16-15)
Previous Ranking:
13
It was a rough week for the Orioles after they lost two of three from both the Rays and Angels. During that stretch, the Orioles hit just .238 as a team. The team has now fallen into 2nd place in the American League East and is facing a seven game road trip against Oakland and Kansas City before returning home to face the Red Sox.

17. Chicago White Sox (14-15)
Previous Ranking:
9
Nothing could make Ozzie Guillen any angrier than all the negative attention he's been receiving now that the Sox have gone on a five game losing streak. Guillen criticized just about everyone in the Chicago area for all the negative remarks about the team. Note to Guillen: Cussing people out isn't exactly the way to get people to have faith in your team......On a side note, Nick Swisher was just 3 for 23 last week and dropped his average to .208 on the season.

18. Tampa Bay Rays (16-15)
Previous Ranking:
16
After sweeping the Red Sox last week, Boston returned the favor over the weekend. With Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, and B.J. Upton not bating anywhere near their potential, the Rays offense should only continue to improve as the season wears on. Meanwhile, Troy Percival is looking solid as the Rays closer. In ten innings pitched thus far, Percival has yet to give up a run, has 9:1 K/BB ratio, and has six saves on the year.

19. Houston Astros (16-16)
Previous Ranking:
23
Lance Berkman has been the main reason for the Astros return to .500. Berkman's 10 home runs, and 31 batted in are second in the majors. Meanwhile, the biggest surprise to the rotation has to be the slow start of Roy Oswalt and the hot start of Shawn Chacon. Chacon has 5 quality starts in 6 games started, but doesn't have a single win on his record to show for it.

20. Cleveland Indians (14-17)
Previous Ranking:
15
Just when we start thinking the Indians are starting to come out of their slump, they crawl right back in it by losing games to the Royals, Mariners, and Yankees last week. It should be a challenging week ahead as the team faces the Yankees in New York before returning home to face the Blue Jays over the weekend. C.C. Sabathia is slowly getting better after his poor start to the season, but he's still not quite the Cy Young pitcher we saw a year ago.

21. Detroit Tigers (14-18)
Previous Ranking:
18
This is a crucial week for the Tigers as they face both the Red Sox and the Yankees at home. While the team is still very close in the division race, they can't afford to lose both of these series. After the team cut Jacque Jones, it looks as if Gary Sheffield will be the teams regular left fielder. According to Sheffield, playing the outfield will help him raise his .183 batting average.

22. Kansas City Royals (14-16)
Previous Ranking:
21
Aside from Zach Greinke, the Royals starting pitching has been below average. We still don't understand why Tony Pena--.157/.174/.202--still has a job as an everyday regular. I mean, wasn't he supposed to be better than Angel Berroa? With Berroa hitting .288 at AAA Omaha, it might be time to make a switch.

23. Seattle Mariners (13-19)
Previous Ranking:
14
The team that was supposed to be contenders for the division now has one of the worst records in the league. Adding Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien to the lineup should help the team, but the fact that the Mariners called them up now is ridiculous when all they needed was one more week in the minors to have them under control for one more season. The Mariners are at home this week against Texas and the struggling White Sox, so they should turn it around.

24. San Francisco Giants (14-18)
Previous Ranking:
25
Well...that was fast. Before I even get a chance to talk about Barry Zito moving to the bullpen, the Giants announced that he will be inserted right back into the starting rotation. We knew it was a mistake for the Giants to give up on Rajai Davis so soon. Since joining the Athletics, Davis is hitting .333 with three RBI's as the A's 4th outfielder.

25. Washington Nationals (14-18)
Previous Ranking:
29
A solid week overall for the Nationals as they went 5-1 against Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Despite the bad reputation, the Nationals have 3 starts that all have era's under 4. Meanwhile, Felipe Lopez is making the most of his opportunities since taking over the 2nd base job from Ronnie Belliard.

26. Cincinnati Reds (12-20)
Previous Ranking:
22
If things keep going the way they are for the Reds, both Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. might be wearing different uniforms in the second half. However, it might be the best thing for the team as the Reds as it would allow them to call up Jay Bruce and give their youngsters a look.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-19)
Previous Ranking:
28
Adam LaRoche looks like a mere shell of his former self. The player that hit 32 homers and 90 RBI for the Braves just two seasons ago is long gone. As things stand now, LaRoche--who was 10th in the NL in strikeouts last season--is 5th so far this season with 32. He also is one of the league leaders in grounding into double plays.

28. Colorado Rockies (12-19)
Previous Ranking:
26
The pitching has already been bad and the loss of Troy Tulowitski until the All-Star break is going to hurt the team both offensively and defensively. It's remarkable to think that this is the same team that represented the National League in the World Series last season. However, one offensive surprise has been Willy Tavares, who has stolen 14 bases in 15 attempts.

29. San Diego Padres (12-20)
Previous Ranking:
27
Fans of the Friars have to be wondering what's going on. Adrian Gonzalez is the only player performing on offense. Khalil Greene, Scott Hairston, Jim Edmonds, Tadahito Iguchi, and Josh Bard are all hitting under .250. It's time the Padres stopped blaming the park and start get real players in their. Either that, or they can do what the Tigers did and move the fence in closer. There is no excuse for this team having the worst record in the majors.

30. Texas Rangers (13-19)
Previous Ranking:
30
Josh Hamilton continues to lead the majors in RBI, but the player he was traded for (Edinson Volquez) is leading the National League in era (1.27). The biggest surprise of the week for the Rangers has been the hot bat of Brandon Boggs. Since being called up, Boggs is hitting .333 in 24 at bats. Meanwhile, Sidney Ponson has--somehow--only given up 2 runs in over 13 innings pitched this season.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 28, 2008 1:30 am
Edited on: April 28, 2008 1:35 pm
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5


Coming to you every Monday.......

Week:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


1. Arizona Diamondbacks (18-7)
Previous Ranking:
1
Often times division winners aren't decided in April, but the way the Diamondbacks are playing right now, I don't see another team catching them in the west. The Diamonbacks continue to destroy rivals in divisional play and have a 17-5 record against their own division. The team leads the National League in both offense and pitching.

2. Chicago Cubs (16-9)
Previous Ranking:
3
No Alfonso Soriano? No problem. The Cubs have scored 47 runs this past week, which is most in the National League. The pitching staff continues to be effective as Ted Lilly got his first quality start last week, Ryan Dempster continues to shut down opposing hitters, and Carlos Zambrano has started out to a mellow 4-1 record, in which he contributes mostly to him stop drinking Red Bull before starts. It must be nice to be a Cub fan these days.

3. Los Angeles Angels (16-10)
Previouse Ranking:
5
The Halos had a tough schedule this week against the Red Sox and Tigers, but answered the call by taking both series. Not only is the pitching coming up big for the Angels, but the team is finally starting to score some runs. Casey Kotchman might be the most underrated first basemen in the American League. Meanwhile, Joe Saunders (4-0, 2.55 era) has continued to dominate opposing hitters.

4. St. Louis Cardinals (16-10)
Previous Ranking:
6
Kyle Lohse didn't get the big contract he wanted last winter and looks as if he's out to prove everyone wrong in 2008. So far through six starts this season, Lohse is 3-0 with a 2.36 era. Cardinals pitching ranks second in the National League so far and anytime you couple that with a lineup that features Albert Pujols, you are going to win plenty of ballgames.

5. Oakland Athletics (16-10)
Previous Ranking:
8
A rebuilding year for Oakland?.....Forget about it. Not while Billy Beane is the general manager. The A's made a huge move this past week by signing Frank Thomas for less than the league minimum and have continued to keep winning series. The A's have the best road record in the majors at 8-3 and are tied with the Angels for the best record in the American League at 16-10. We'll see who gets who first as the two play each other this week in a 4 game set.

6. Boston Red Sox (15-12)
Previous Ranking:
2
After opening up the week with a win over Texas, the Red Sox managed to lose two of three to the Angels at home before getting swept by the red hot Rays over the weekend. The offense just wasn't able to get moving with David Ortiz out of the lineup. Meanwhile, Jon Lester has issued more walks than he has strikeouts and leads their starters with a 1.77 WHIP. With how Justin Masterson performed in his debut this week, the Red Sox are going to be tempted to make a switch if Lester doesn't pick it up.

7. New York Mets (13-11)
Previous Ranking:
4
After starting the week 1-3 on the road against the Cubs and Nationals, the Mets won the weekend series at home against the Braves. I don't understand why Willie Randolph keeps turning to Aaron Heilman in close ballgames. So far in 14 innings pitched this season, Heilman has a 6.43 era and is not helping the team win ballgames.


8. Milwaukee Brewers (14-11)
Previous Ranking:
7
The Brewers offense has been stagnant so far this season as Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have started off slow. Maybe Mike Cameron can give it a boost. Cameron returns to the lineup next Tuesday after serving his 25 game suspension after testing positive for a banned stimulant. Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo has given the Brewers everything they could ask for after the team lost Ben Sheets to an injury earlier this month.

9. Chicago White Sox (14-10)
Previous Ranking:
10
The White Sox are doing exactly what was expected of them offensively as they lead the American League in home runs with 31. Of the teams best hitters so far this season, one of the most underlooked may be Carlos Quentin, who is batting .288/435/.562 with 5 home runs, 1 triple, 3 doubles, two steals and 19 RBI.


10. Philadelphia Phillies (14-12)
Previous Ranking:
14
The hot starts of Chase Utley and Pat Burrell are hiding all the things that are going wrong for the team right now. Most notably, Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, and Shane Victorino are all hitting below .240. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins injury doesn't help matters.


11. Florida Marlins (15-10)
Previous Ranking:
18
I honestly don't understand how the Marlins continue to win ballgames. They've had some of the worst starting pitching in the majors (5.40 starters era) and their offense has just been mediocre thus far. However, Hanley Ramirez is showing everyone why I think he is the best shortstop in the game.


12. New York Yankees (13-13)
Previous Ranking:
11
Robinson Cano has always hit for a high average, but has had an extremely low on base percentage to go along with it (only 57 walks in the past two seasons combined). He's like second base version of Juan Pierre. The minute he stops hitting the ball, he becomes useless. On the bright side, Jason Giambi has a .316 average with 3 home runs in the past week.


13. Baltimore Orioles (14-11)
Previous Ranking:
17
The Orioles have the Mariners number this season. After taking 2 of 3 from the Mariners in Seattle this past week, the Orioles move to 6-1 against the M's this year. Matt Albers (2-0, 1.65 era) has been lights out from the bullpen, but may receive the chance to start now that Adam Loewen has been placed on the disabled list.


14. Seattle Mariners (12-14)
Previous Ranking:
9
The good news for the Mariners is that Erik Bedard came back from the DL Saturday and was dominant in his start against the A's. The bad news is that the Mariners just lost back to back series at home, Ichiro, Sexson, and Vidro are struggling to hit the ball, and Miguel Batista strained a muscle in his start last Friday. In addition, the Mariners made a mistake when the decided to resign catcher Kenji Johjima (.191 avg) to a new 3 year deal. Just get Jeff Clement in the big leagues already!!!

15. Cleveland Indians (12-13)
Previous Ranking:
22
Maybe the Indians saw that I dropped them 14 spots in my power rankings last week and decided to prove me wrong. Either that or they realized they were playing bad baseball and decided to turn it around. The Indians went 5-1 this past week after sweeping the Royals and taking two of three from the Yankees. Cliff Lee (4-0, 0.28 era) has certainly regained his form this season and is dominating every opponent he faces.

16. Tampa Bay Rays (14-11)
Previous Ranking:
24
Don't look now, but the Rays are in first place in the American League East after sweeping both the Blue Jays and the Red Sox this week. Evan Longoria has given this team the spark they needed and veteran role players Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd have been hitting the ball very well. The starting pitching has been just average so far, but with Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza coming back from injury, the Rays will stay competitive.

17. Atlanta Braves (12-13)
Previous Ranking:
13
Jair Jurrjens showed just how tough he was over the weekend against the Mets by limiting them to two hits in six innings pitched. Despite the ump clearly not giving him any calls, Jurrjens continued to battle and is showing everyone why he'll be a solid major league pitcher in this league. Meanwhile, if Chipper Jones continues to hit well (.433 avg), I wouldn't be surprised to see management give him a contract extension to keep him around for a couple more seasons.

18. Detroit Tigers (11-15)
Previous Ranking:
23
Okay, so a sweep over Texas shouldn't really be considered that big of a deal, but at least it might be the thing that ignites the Tigers potent offense this season. In the series against the Rangers, the Tigers scored a total of 37 runs in the three games. That's an average of 12.33 runs per game. Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera have looked like their old selves.

19. Toronto Blue Jays (11-15)
Previous Ranking:
12
The Blue Jays are "hurting" in a "big" way after releasing Thomas last week. As predicted, Vernon Wells average was just .125 last week. Without the protection from Thomas in the lineup, he'll struggle to see good pitches. On the bright side, Scott Rolen is back from injury and the team just recently recalled Adam Lind from AAA. However, I don't think it will be enough to make the Blue Jays contenders in the East.

20. Minnesota Twins (11-14)
Previous Ranking:
19
The Twins decision to demote Francisco Liriano back to AAA corrected the decision to call him up in the first place. Liriano may need a full season in the minors before he becomes effective once again at the big league level. Meanwhile, on the offensive end of things, Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez have a combined 6 walks in 207 plate appearances. Someone needs to teach these guys patience at the plate.

21. Kansas City Royals (11-14)
Previous Ranking:
20
The Royals continue to slide further down the standings as they were swept by the Indians early last week. Jose Guillen, and his new 36 million dollar contract, continues to struggle at the plate. Meanwhile, Joey Gathright--despite his speed-- really doesn't deserve to be starting for the team. The Royals need an offensive boost and there are plenty of cheap options still available including Mike Piazza and Barry Bonds, but it remains to be seen if the team will even look that direction.

22. Cincinnati Reds (11-15)
Previous Ranking:
21
I'll admit, Wayne Krivsky made some questionable trades as the Red GM, but he also made some very good ones. He brought in Brandon Phillips for a minor leaguer and his recent acquisition of Edinson Volquez from the Rangers should have kept him his job. So far, Volquez is 3-0 this season and is 2nd in the National League in era. For the first time in a long time, the Reds hitting has been their biggest problem. The team needs Jay Bruce in their lineup now.

23. Houston Astros (12-14)
Previous Ranking:
27
Despite being investigated by the FBI for steroid use, lying about his age and possibly his name as well, Miguel Tejada is on a mission right now. The newly acquired Astros slugger is hitting .340 this season with 4 home runs, 20 RBI, and 13 extra base hits. We haven't seen production this good from Tejada since his last two seasons with the Oakland Athletics. Once Roy Oswalt turns around his slow start, the Astros could move up in the standings.

24. Los Angeles Dodgers (12-13)
Previous Ranking:
26
I ranked them 24th just because I had to give them a spot, but they could be anywhere as low as 27. The NL West is not looking as strong as it was a year ago. At 12-13, the Dodgers are 2nd in the division and are 6 games back in the standings. Nomar Garciaparra was just placed on the DL once again for the Dodgers. At least the team can look forward to getting Andy LaRoche back in two weeks.

25. San Francisco Giants (11-15)
Previous Ranking:
25
Barry Zito is a lock to lose 20 games this season for the Giants. His contract may very well be the worst contract in the history of the game. Remember, Zito will still have a good 5 years and 102 million left on his contract after this season (assuming the Giants decline his 2014 option). On the bright side for the team, Tim Lincecum (4-0, 1.23 era) has been practically unstoppable.

26. Colorado Rockies (10-15)
Previous Ranking:
15
The Rockies are the streakiest team in the majors. After going 8-4 the past two weeks, the team was 1-6 this week losing series to the Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers. If they expect to contend this season, they have to find some sort of consistency. Meanwhile, only one Rockies starting pitcher--Aaron Cook-- has an era under 5.50.


27. San Diego Padres (10-16)
Previous Ranking:
16
If the Padres want to contend this season, the are going to have to find some sort of offense quick. The pitching is still their, but it won't do them any good if the team can't score runs. The team has struck out a league leading 204 times. Adrian Gonzalez is the only Padres hitter doing anything with the bat. The team has no obvious internal option, as Chase Headley is struggling in AAA. In my opinion, Jason Bay would be the perfect fit in left field for the team.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (10-15)
Previous Ranking:
29
What a mess new GM Neal Huntington has had to deal with. The Pirates just released Matt Morris, who was acquired at the trade deadline last season by previous GM Dave Littlefield. By releasing Morris, the Pirates are eating 11 million dollars in salary. The team has a long road ahead of them. In my opinion, a firesale is the only way to start.


29. Washinton Nationals (9-17)
Previous Ranking:
30
The Nationals get the bump to the 29 spot as they've been playing better ball than the Rangers over the past week. The team split two game sets against the Braves and Mets and was able to take two of three from the Cubs. Christian Guzman and Nick Johnson are hitting the ball well, but the team really needs Ryan Zimmerman (.222 avg) to start hitting in order to win ballgames.


30. Texas Rangers (9-17)
Previous Ranking:
28
It's the pitching STUPID!.....That's the message that needs to be delivered to Rangers GM Jon Daniels. Rangers pitchers once again have the worst team era in the American League at 5.55. Things have gotten so bad in Texas that the team is relying on Sidney Ponson to win ballgames.....Chris Young, Edinson Volquez and John Danks would look good in Rangers jerseys right about now. If only management hadn't traded them away.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 22, 2008 7:24 pm
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 4

The week four power rankings are coming out about a day and a half late as I've had stuff I've needed to deal with. However, all rankings are retroactive to Monday morning, meaning that games yesterday and today are not taken into consideration. The top four in my rankings don't change this week as all have had solid weeks.....For more, keep reading.

Coming to you every Monday......


1. Arizona Diamondbacks (13-5)
Previous Ranking:
1
The Diamondbacks stay at my number one ranking after winning back to back series this week against the Giants and Padres. The team is clicking on all cylinders as they are number one in the National League in offense and pitching. 12 of the D-backs league leading 13 wins have come against division rivals. That success has given them a comfortable four game cushion in the west.

2. Boston Red Sox (13-7)
Previous Ranking:
2
The Red Sox are winning the games they should win, and staying competitive in games against competitors. Their nine come from behind victories leads the majors. While the pitching staff has been mediocre, their offense is on a roll. Even with Lowell on the DL and Big Papi struggling, many other role players are stepping up their game.

3. Chicago Cubs (12-6)
Previous Ranking:
3
With Alfonso Soriano out, the Cubs are going to need Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot to stay hot with the bat. Speaking of which, Derrek Lee is off to a torrid start this season. His 7 home runs leads the majors. The team starts next week with a 2 game set at home against the Mets before heading out to Colorado and Washington on the road.

4. New York Mets (10-7)
Previous Ranking:
4
The Mets were one of baseball's hottest teams this week after sweeping the Nationals and taking two out of three from the Phillies on the road. Johan Santana delivered yet another strong outing for the team on Friday. If David Wright (.359 avg., 4 hr) continues to hit like he has so far, his name could be in the mix for MVP at the end of the year.

5. Los Angeles Angels (12-8)
Previous Ranking:
6
Maybe I should have kept quiet. Just a week after I praise Howie Kendrick for his hot start to the season, he manages to find the disabled list with a strained hamstring. While it's not a major injury, Kendrick seems to have way too many of these smaller ones. However, the Angels still managed to win five of their seven games last week against Texas, Kansas City, and Seattle (with a little help from Torii Hunter).

6. St. Louis Cardinals (12-7)
Previous Ranking:
14
I've been underrating the Cardinals these past few weeks, so now seems like a perfect time to reward them. The bullpen has a league leading 2.97 era, the starting pitchers have an team era of just 3.53 and their offense is 4th in the National League so far. In addition, the signing of Kyle Lohse is looking like one of the most underrated signings this past offseason.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (11-7)
Previous Ranking:
9
Another week and another blown save for Eric Gagne. If he stays their all season long, he is going to cost the team a lot of ballgames. What an absolute waste of 10 million dollars. The Brewers will need Yavani Gallardo to anchor the rotation while Ben Sheets is out due to injury.


8. Oakland Athletics (12-8)
Previous Ranking:
12
The A's are winning ballgames any way they can. Their seven home runs is fewest in the majors. However, the team leads the majors in triples, is close to the top in doubles, and has had the best pitching staff in the American League through this point. Dan Eveland and Greg Smith, who were throw ins in the Dan Haren deal have been outstanding so far in the A's rotation.

9. Seattle Mariners (10-10)
Previous Ranking:
13
Seattle became the first team to beat the A's in a series last week since Oakland lost the opening series to the Red Sox. As expected, the Erik Bedard deal has significantly improved their rotation.....and made their bullpen the worst in the American League. The M's have a chance to get revege against the Orioles--who swept them earlier this year--as they face them at home this week.

10. Chicago White Sox (11-7)
Previous Ranking:
15
I knew their offense would be solid this season. I also knew that the bullpen would be much improved with the additions of Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel. However, what I didn't expect was for the Sox's starting pitching to be this effective. Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Javier Vasquez have been practically untouchable this season and the Sox's worst pitcher is Mark Buehrle. Who would have expected that?

11. New York Yankees (10-10)
Previous Ranking:
5
The Yankees are a frustrating team to watch. They have been playing well against competitors, but have been losing series to teams that they should easily beat. Because of this, they are getting demoted this week despite having a winning record last week. Meanwhile, Hank Steinbrenner should look in the mirror before calling anything "idiotic." His remarks this past week were not what the team needed.

12. Toronto Blue Jays (10-9)
Previous Ranking:
8
The cutting of Frank Thomas at this point in the year is an embarrassment for the Jays. J.P. Ricciardi and John Gibbons should be ashamed for how they handled the situation. Thomas came through in some clutch situations this season against the Red Sox and A's and his presence alone is enough to make opposing pitchers change their game plan. With the absence of Thomas, look for Vernon Wells numbers to decline. The Blue Jays stand little chance without Big Hurt.

13. Atlanta Braves (9-9)
Previous Ranking:
17
Tom Glavine hit the DL for the first time in his career this past week, but that didn't stop the Braves from winning. Chipper Jones is putting together phenominal numbers without Andruw Jones in the lineup and Mark Teixeira is finally starting to heat up. The Braves have plenty of offense and pitching depth to win ballgames.

14. Philadelphia Phillies (9-10)
Previous Ranking:
11
It seems as if all Brad Lidge needed was a change of scenery. He has yet to give up a run in seven innings pitched so far this season. Ryan Howard's struggles so far this season have been alarming. He isn't hitting the ball and is leading the majors with 27 strikeouts.


15. Colorado Rockies (9-9)
Previous Ranking:
21
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Rockies have gone 8-4 over the past two weeks to put them back into 2nd place in the National League West. Clint Barmes is off to another hot start to the season.....Just make sure he doesn't go shopping.


16. San Diego Padres (9-10)
Previous Ranking:
10
The Padres have had the worst offense in the National League up to this point. Despite leading the league with 14 quality starts, the team only has 9 wins to show for it. The pitching staff is getting the fewest amount of runs support per game at 3.08 runs. The Padres also have the worst record in the majors when facing a left handed pitcher on the mound. They've had a relatively easy schedule so far and they need to take advantage of it.

17. Baltimore Orioles (11-8)
Previous Ranking:
27
They are hanging tough against difficult opponents. The bullpen has been key for the team winning ballgames. The Orioles are also getting solid production from Luke Scott and Nick Markakis.


18. Florida Marlins (11-7)
Previous Ranking:
28
The Marlins pitching has been terrible, yet they're still managing to win ballgames. Hanley Ramirez is leading the team in all offensive categories and already has six homeruns this month. Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham have stepped their game up without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup. The team has a seven game road trip this week against Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Milwaukee.

19. Minnesota Twins (9-10)
Previous Ranking:
18
The Twins offense has been the worst in the American League so far, yet the pitching has managed to keep them in ballgames. Carlos Gomez is struggling to do anything with the bat thus far, Francisco Liriano is struggling on the mound, and the absence of both Torii Hunter and Johan Santana is being felt in the twin cities.

20. Kansas City Royals (9-10)
Previous Ranking:
19
It was a rough week for the Royals as they went just 2-5 against Seattle, Los Angeles, and Oakland. However, despite the struggles, the team is still in second place in the AL Central and is getting solid efforts from their pitching staff. The Royals have another tough week ahead of them as they face Cleveland and Toronto at home.

21. Cincinnati Reds (8-11)
Previous Ranking:
20
Despite signing Francisco Cordero to that huge deal this offseason, he only has two saves for the team as the team hasn't been leading many ballgames. Corey Patterson is off to a terrible start to the season. If he keeps it up, it will only be a matter of time before we see Jay Bruce in the big leagues.

22. Cleveland Indians (7-12)
Previous Ranking:
8
C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona continue to struggle with their command, Jake Westbrook is heading to the DL, and the Indians team batting average (.235) is lowest in the American League. Meanwhile, Joe Borowski's injury may have come as a blessing in disguise for the team. While everyone is ridiculing the Tigers slow start, no one is looking at the constant struggles of the Indians.

23. Detroit Tigers (6-13)
Previous Ranking:
23
The Tigers offense is slowly coming back to life thanks in large part to the play of Carlos Guillen. It should only continue to improve once players start returning from the disabled list. Now all the team needs is for the pitching staff to turn it around. The Tigers head home this week to take on the Rangers and Angels.

24. Tampa Bay Rays (8-11)
Previous Ranking:
22
The signing of Evan Longoria to a six year deal was one of the best things a Tampa Bay fan could hope for. Not only does it mean that Longoria will be on the major league roster for the rest of the year, but if he develops as many scouts expect him to, the Rays could have him at quite a bargain through his arbitration years.

25. San Francisco Giants (8-11)
Previous Ranking:
29
The Giants pitching staff--with no thanks to Barry Zito--is keeping the team in ballgames and allowing them to win games. Recently called up John Bowker is tearing the cover off of the ball on offense as well. Omar Vizquel has been cleared to play in extended spring training games and is likely to return to the lineup in early May.

26. Los Angeles Dodgers (7-11)
Previous Ranking:
17
The Dodgers are struggling to hit the ball. Andruw Jones, who the team signed for 18 million dollars a year this past offseason, was in the lineup batting 8th for the first time since 1998. After hitting 41home runs three years ago, Jones has fallen in complete decline and it makes you wonder if he can get any worse.

27. Houston Astros (7-12)
Previous Ranking:
24
The addition of Miguel Tejada still hasn't changed anything. The Astros still have one of the worst offenses in the National League. Meanwhile, the trade for Jose Valverde isn't looking to good as the Astros have blown 40% of their save opportunities so far.


28. Texas Rangers (7-12)
Previous Ranking:
26
It must be tough to be a baseball fan in Texas these days. The Rangers have struggled against just about every team they've played and now are close to having the worst record in the American League. Kevin Millwood has started the season off pitching really well, but only has a 1-2 record to show for it. Meanwhile, Jason Jennings is picking up right where he left off last season and could be waived by the end of the year.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-11)
Previous Ranking:
25
The Pirates 24 errors (.969 fielding percentage) is the worst in the majors right now. Nate "McLovin" McLouth is crushing the ball right now and making Pirates fans quickly forget about Chris Duffy (who?). On the oher hand, Adam LaRoche is struggling again in April as he's hitting just .123 with only 1 home run and 3 RBI.

30. Washington Nationals (5-14)
Previous Ranking:
30
The Nationals are well on their way to a 100 loss season if they keep this up. The injury to Paul Lo Duca should help the team as it gives Jesus Flores regular playing time. I still don't understand why the team released John Patterson right before the season started.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 14, 2008 4:43 am
Edited on: April 14, 2008 4:45 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 3

Coming to you every Monday.....


1. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-3)
Previous Ranking:
6
The snakes move to the top spot after winning 8 games in a row against division rivals. The Diamondbacks offense, believe it or not, has been the best in the majors so far. The team leads the majors in home runs (21), runs (77), and RBI (72) thanks mostly to Justin Upton, who leads the team in most all major categories.

2. Boston Red Sox (7-6)
Previous Ranking:
4
After getting swept on the road in Toronto, the Red Sox stepped it up at home by taking two of three from both Detroit and New York. While David Ortiz has gotten off to one of his worst starts in recent memory, J.D. Drew (.353 avg, 3 hr, 8 RBI) is making up for the loss. Looking at the pitching staff, opponents are hitting a league low .232 off of Red Sox pitchers.

3. Chicago Cubs (7-5)
Previous Ranking:
9
The Cubs return home after going 4-2 on their road trip against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Who would have thought that Ryan Dempster would only allow one run through 13 innings pitched so far this season? Meanwhile, If Felix Pie doesn't start hitting the ball, I wouldn't be surprised if Reed Johnson eventually overtook him on the roster. While the Cubs targetted Brian Roberts in the offseason, their main focus should be to acquire a centerfielder.

4. New York Mets (5-6)
Previous Ranking:
3
You know your team is struggling offensively when Angel Pagan is leading your team in 3 major offensive categories. The Mets pitching has been great so far, especially if you factor in the losses of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez. However, it's the offense that continues to struggle, and is holding this team back. Johan Santana has delivered 3 excellent starts for the team, but only has a 1-2 record to show for it.

5. New York Yankees (6-7)
Previous Ranking:
1
I normally would cut the Yankees some slack after losing two of three to Boston. However, losing two of three to the Royals is unacceptable. The teams powerful offense needs to wake up as the pitching staff has done more than enough to win ballgames. Derek Jeter should be back from injury this week. Maybe that will get the offense moving.

6. Los Angeles Angels (7-6)
Previous Ranking:
7
Despite terrible relief pitching, and mediocre starting pitching, the Angels continue to stay competitive by sporting the American League's best offense so far. Howie Kendrick has started the season 15 for 32 and is showing everyone why he should be considered among the top second basemen in the game. Meanwhile, the Torii Hunter signing has paid off so far as Hunter leads the team in home runs (4) and is second on the team in RBI (8).

7. Toronto Blue Jays (7-5)
Previous Ranking:
8
After sweeping the Red Sox last weekend, the Blue Jays started out the week by getting swept by the A's at home. They then followed that series with a three game sweep of the Texas Rangers. The Blue Jays are going to need to be a little more consistent in order to have a chance at the AL East this season. The team also needs Scott Rolen to come back from the DL as soon as possible. While Marco Scutaro is doing okay filling in, he doesn't deserve to be an everyday starter.

8. Cleveland Indians (5-7)
Previous Ranking:
2
It was a rough week for the Tribe. After dropping two of three to Oakland last weekend, the Indians continued to struggle by losing series to both the Angels and Athletics this week. What is even more discouraging than the losses are the performances of their top two starters. C.C. Sabathia start (0-2, 11.57 era) is the worst start ever by a reigning Cy Young winner after the first three games of the following season. Meanwhile, Fausto Carmona has already issued 17 walks in just 16 innings pitched.

9. Milwaukee Brewers (8-4)
Previous Ranking:
13
Maybe a year off would do everyone some good.....Gabe Kapler continues to stroke the ball for the Brew Crew already has four home runs on the season. Ben Sheets is back to his Cy Young form and if he can stay healthy all year long, there is nothing stopping this team from being playoff contenders.......except Eric Gagne.

10. San Diego Padres (7-6)
Previous Ranking:
10
If only the Padres had a better offense. San Diego is 14th in the national league with 40 runs scored despite having a league leading 10 quality starts. The team should have never lost two out of three to San Francisco this past week and if it weren't for a couple bad breaks, the Padres would be right up their with Arizona battling for the best record in the league.

11. Philadelphia Phillies (6-7)
Previous Ranking:
14
If I were to ask someone what player was leading the Phillies in all of their offensive categories, I bet everyone would guess that it would be either Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, or Chase Utley. However, no one would suspect Pat Burrell, who is hitting .359 with 13 RBI, 4 HR, 8 runs, and 4 doubles. So far, the Michael Bourn for Brad Lidge deal is looking great for the Phils....Yet the Pedro Feliz signing is looking like one of the worst this offseason.

12. Oakland Athletics (8-5)
Previous Ranking:
19
After losing the opening series of the year to the Red Sox, the A's have won 7 of their last 9 games, including 5 out of 6 on the road against the Blue Jays and Indians. In that stretch, the A's have beaten C.C. Sabthia (twice), Fausto Carmona, Paul Byrd, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan, and Shaun Marcum. That's not too bad of a list. Oakland's starters have an era of just 3.07, which is best in the American League.

13. Seattle Mariners (6-7)
Previous Ranking:
16
The Mariners ended last week by losing four in a row last week to the Orioles. However, they've quickly bounced back and won two out of three from both the Rays and division rival Angels. The starting pitching has been outstanding so far, aside from Miguel Batista. However, if Kenji Johjima and Brad Wilkerson continue to struggle, it may not be too long before we see Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien back in Seattle.

14. St. Louis Cardinals (9-4)
Previous Ranking:
17
The Cardinals continue to win ballgames against mediocre teams. Their strength of schedule has been one of the easiest so far this season. However, they should get a good test this week as they face Milwaukee for a three game set. The team is getting a tremendous amount of offensive production from both Ryan Ludwig and Brian Barton. It will be interesting to see how long they continue to play this well.

15. Chicago White Sox (7-4)
Previous Ranking:
18
I'm waiting to see how well the White Sox fare against other teams before I move them any higher in the rankings. The team is 7-4 record is shown by them going 5-1 against Detroit, and then 2-3 against the Indians and Twins. Their schedule for April is relatively easy. This week they have two games against the A's and Orioles, followed by a three game set against the Rays. Things will get a lot harder once they enter May.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers (5-7)
Previous Ranking:
5
The Dodgers suffer the biggest fall in the power rankings this week after a 1-5 week against the Diamonbacks and Padres. While both of those teams are very good, the Dodgers have to be able to beat them if they want any shot at the division. While the team continue to have strong pitching, the offense has yet to wake up. Things should get a little easier with a 3 game set against Pittsburgh to start out the week.

17. Atlanta Braves (5-7)
Previous Ranking:
11
The Braves were swept earlier in the week by the Rockies and managed to win two of three against the Nationals. However, things don't look good for the team as Tom Glavine was injured on Sunday. With both Glavine and Mike Hampton hurt, the Braves will have to rely on weak minor league depth to carry them. On a better note, the Braves offense is among the best in the National League right now, even with Mark Teixeira hitting near the Mendoza line.

18. Minnesota Twins (6-6)
Previous Ranking:
20
Francisco Liriano's start on Sunday wasn't great, but you can't read into it too much. One start at this point in the season means nothing. Meanwhile, who would have ever thought Livan Hernandez would be 3-0 with a 2.57 era to start the year in the American League. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't most experts call this a "terrible" signing?

19. Kansas City Royals (7-5)
Previous Ranking:
22
Brian Bannister continues to dominate. He is 3-0 this season with an era of just 0.86. Dayton Moore's trade of Ambiorix Burgos for him at the beginning of last year is looking like one of the best trades in recent memory. Meanwhile, the Royals bullpen is unstoppable this season. Their 1.16 bullpen era is by far the best in the majors.

20. Cincinnati Reds (6-7)
Previous Ranking:
15
Maybe I got a little too excited about this young Reds team a little too fast. I don't understand how a team that wins series against Arizona and Milwaukee and splits with Philadelphia can just lose three straight games to a team as bad as the Pirates. Much like the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League, the Reds need to develop consistency if they are to be considered serious threats for the division. They have a tough week ahead with the Cubs and Brewers.

21. Colorado Rockies (5-7)
Previous Ranking:
21
Even though the Rockies bounced back from their 1-5 start with a sweep of the Braves, they have the second fewest runs scored in the National League with 42. The offense is going to have to pick it up as no one in Colorado can rely on the pitching to succeed while the team plays at Coors Field.

22. Tampa Bay Rays (6-6)
Previous Ranking:
23
The Rays will always play teams tough this year with that offense. However, the pitching has hit a snag with both Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza out. However, the team shouldn't be set back too much with Jeff Niemann and Evan Longoria called up on Sunday.

23. Detroit Tigers (2-10)
Previous Ranking:
12
Are you serious? According to the strength of schedule, the Tigers have had the easiest road in the majors up to this point. What has that gotten them?........ A 2-10 start to the season. So far, the Tigers only have one quality start from their starters, which is fewest in the majors. Things only get worse for the Tigers as Dontrelle Willis is now headed to the DL.

24. Houston Astros (5-8)
Previous Ranking:
24
As noted last week, opposing hitters are hitting a league best .300 off of Astros pitchers. You can't do that and expect to win many ballgames. The trades for Michael Bourn and Jose Valverde aren't looking good so far for Astros new GM Ed Wade. The Tejada trade seems to be the only one that was okay, but it depleted the teams pitching depth.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6)
Previous Ranking:
27
After sweeping the Reds over the weekend, we had no choice but to move them up one in the rankings. However, the team faces a huge test this next week as they face the Dodgers and Cubs on the road. As a team, the Pirates are hitting just .234 with runners in scoring position.

26. Texas Rangers (5-7)
Previous Ranking:
26
After defeating the Orioles in a 3 game set to start the week, the Rangers were swept by the Blue Jays over the weekend. Much like the Pirates, the Rangers have trouble driving in runners when they are in scoring position. Their .182 average with runners in scoring position is the worst in the American League.

27. Baltimore Orioles (7-5)
Previous Ranking:
28
O's fans screamed for a higher ranking last week, yet once again, the play this week didn't warrant it. The birds lost two straight series to Tampa Bay and Texas, both of which are teams that should be beaten. The only reason the Orioles are getting bumped up a spot this week is because the poor play of the Nationals.

28. Florida Marlins (7-5)
Previous Ranking:
29
I really don't understand how the Marlins are winning ballgames other than noting they've had an easy schedule. Their starters era is 7.17, which is worst in the majors. Meanwhile, opponents are hitting a whopping .292 off Marlin pitchers. The team keeps on playing bottom feeders until the 25th of this month, so we'll see how they hold up.
29. San Francisco Giants (5-8)
Previous Ranking:
30
The Giants managed to pull together some wins this week with strong performances from their starters. However, they could have won a lot more games had the team invested it's money better in a bat or bullpen help. The fact that the Giants lost 8-7 on Saturday after Matt Cain carried a no-no into the 7th is just pathetic.

30. Washington Nationals (4-9)
Previous Ranking:
25
You can't lose 9 games in a row, have the second worst record in the majors, and expect to not drop in the rankings. Just about the only thing going well for the Nationals is the development of Lastings Milledge. At least the team gets Wily Mo Pena back this week as well.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 7, 2008 1:37 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 2

Coming to you every Monday.....


1. New York Yankees (3-3)
Previous Ranking: 1
On the offensive side, the Yankees are hitting just .152 with runners in scoring position through their first four games. Looking at the pitching staff, the team had one encouraging outing from Phil Hughes.........and one disappointing outing by Ian Kennedy.


2. Cleveland Indians (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
2
The Indians offense is hurting without Victor Martinez in the lineup. The team has scored just 7 runs in their past four games. Meanwhile, 2007 Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia has looked terrible in his first two outings of the season.


3. New York Mets (2-3)
Previous Ranking:
3
The Mets have gotten two excellent starts so far from Johan Santana. The loss of Pedro Martinez hurts a bit, and with Orlando Hernandez already sidelined, the team will have to count on Nelson Figueroa to make at least one spot start. Meanwhile, the early season production by Ryan Church is making Mets fans forget about trading Lastings Milledge.

4. Boston Red Sox (3-4)
Previous Ranking:
4
After starting the season 3-1 against the Athletics, the Red Sox were swept by the Blue Jays in Toronto. The offense has gotten off to a slow start and the bullpens 6.27 era is one of the worst in the American League. Things don't get any easier for the Sox as they face Detroit and New York next week.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2)
Previous Ranking:
6
The Dodgers 1.84 team era is the best in the majors. However, aside from Rafael Furcal and James Loney, the Dodger offense is struggling. They are going to have to pick it up with games against Arizona and San Diego next week.


6. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-2)
Previous Ranking:
7
The Diamondbacks pitching shut down both the Reds and the Rockies in their home parks. Brandon Webb certainly looks like he could be in for another strong season. The D-backs 10 home runs leads all the majors. Justin Upton (.333 avg, 3 hr) has started the season red hot.


7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (4-3)
Previous Ranking:
8
No John Lackey? No Kelvim Escobar? No problem....Angels starters have just a 2.45 era through six games. Ervin Santana's win on the road at Minnesota was impressive. If he keeps this up all season long, the Angels will be a tough team to beat in the AL West.


8. Toronto Blue Jays (4-2)
Previous Ranking:
13
After a tough opening week, the Blue Jays looked impressive. They were neck and neck with the Yankees and swept a very good Red Sox team. If healthy, this team might very well have the best pitching staff in the American League East.


9. Chicago Cubs (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
10
Mark DeRosa (.350 avg, 1 hr, 3 rbi) is making the Cubs think twice before trying to trade for Brian Roberts. Meanwhile, Kosuke Fukudome looks like he'll be a frontrunner for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Derrek Lee is killing the ball as well.


10. San Diego Padres (4-3)
Previous Ranking:
11
If Trevor Hoffman continues to struggle, it makes you wonder if Bud Black will consider going to Heath Bell. Hoffman has been the Padres closer for years, but has struggled to close out games the past year. The pitching staff is doing a great job holding opponents to very few runs, but the offense is only averaging 3 runs per game.

11. Atlanta Braves (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
12
The new and improved Braves pitching staff looks solid so far. The team has gotten quality outings from Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Jair Jurjjens. Meanwhile, the offense is firing on all cylinders. Their record is a little deceiving compared to how well their players are performing.

12. Detroit Tigers (0-6)
Previous Ranking:
5
I know the Tigers are a better team than their record indicates, but you can't get swept by both Kansas City and Chicago and stay in the top 10. Things don't get easier for the team as they are headed to Boston for a three game set and have 12 of their next 14 games on the road.


13. Milwaukee Brewers (5-1)
Previous Ranking:
14
The good news? Jason Kendall is off to a great start after having a terrible 2007. The bad news? Eric Gagne blew his first save of the year. The Brewers played a tough series against the Cubs and came out on top 2-1. While they swept the Giants, I am going to wait until they beat a much better opponent before I move them any higher in the rankings.

14. Philadelphia Phillies (2-4)
Previous Ranking:
9
Aside from Cole Hamels, the rest of the Phillies pitching staff has looked bad thus far. The team was almost swept by Washington and only took 1 of 3 from the Reds so far. It doesn't get easier with New York and Chicago on tap for next week. On the offensive side of things, Chase Utley is showing everyone why he is the best 2nd basemen in baseball.

15. Cincinatti Reds (4-2)
Previous Ranking:
17
If Johnny Cueto (7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 10 K's) and Edinson Volquez (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K's) remain effective all season long, the Reds could contend for the division title in the NL Central. The Reds managed to start 4-2 against solid opponents despite their offense struggling.


16. Seattle Mariners (2-4)
Previous Ranking:
15
Starting the season 2-4 against two teams that are projected to be last place finishers in their division is not what the Mariners had in mind when they decided to make a run for the postseason. The injury to JJ Putz and the loss of George Sherrill (in the Erik Bedard trade) is killing them as the Mariners bullpen has posted a 6.43 era.

17. St. Louis Cardinals (5-1)
Previous Ranking:
22
Go figure. The minute I start bashing the Cardinals pitching staff, they completely shut down the Rockies and Nationals and have the best era in the National League. Things only get easier for the birds this week as they match up against the Astros and Giants.


18. Chicago White Sox (4-2)
Previous Ranking:
18
If someone would have told me that the White Sox would start the season out 4-2 on the road against the Indians and Tigers, while having a starter's era of 7.03, I would have called them a liar. The White Sox have the offense to win against any pitcher, but will need to vastly improve their pitching staff to compete in the Central.

19. Oakland Athletics (3-4)
Previous Ranking:
19
Joe Blanton is 0-2 in his last two outings despite only allowing two runs in each game. The A's pitching has been excellent across the board, but the offense will need to improve in order for them to compete. Kurt Suzuki and Ryan Sweeney have been the only bright spots in the A's lineup so far.

20. Minnesota Twins (3-4)
Previous Ranking:
20
Carlos Gomez looks like a good candidate to reach 70 steals this season. The Twins offense has been complacent thus far and the pitching has just been average. With Kevin Slowey straining his right biceps, we could see Phil Humber make his Twins debut.


21. Colorado Rockies (1-5)
Previous Ranking:
16
If the Rockies want people to believe that 2007 wasn't a fluke, they can't play like they did in this first week. The team only scored 10 runs in 6 games and their starters have gotten roped. If it wasn't for the rain delay on Monday, the Rockies might have been the only National League team to start out 0-6.

22. Kansas City Royals (4-1)
Previous Ranking:
24
The Royals pitching has been outstanding so far, especially out of the bullpen. With Billy Butler and Alex Gordon starting to hit the ball well, the Royals have a ton of potential. It will be interesting to see how they handle the Yankees and Twins next week.


23. Tampa Bay Rays (3-2)
Previous Ranking:
23
Like last season, the Rays offense has started out red hot. It only makes you wonder just how good this team would be with Evan Longoria and a healthy Scott Kazmir.


24. Houston Astros (2-5)
Previous Ranking:
21
The offense has started out extremely slow out of the gate and opposing batters are hitting a league high .322 off of Astros pitchers.



25. Washington Nationals (3-4)
Previous Ranking:
25
The Nationals started out strong before losing four in a row to drop them out of first place in the division. I gotta give credit to manager Manny Acta for deciding to start Nick Johnson over Dmitri Young. Johnson has been the biggest surprise for the team after missing the entire 2007 season.

26. Texas Rangers (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
26
With the continued great play from OF David Murphy (.409 avg), it seems foolish to me that the Rangers were so reluctant to trade Marlon Byrd in the offseason. Meanwhile, the Rangers starters 1.97 era is the lowest in the American League throughout the first week.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
27
After taking 2 out of 3 from the Braves, the Pirates dropped the ball against the Marlins over the weekend. The pitching staff has struggled thus far, and Jason Bay is starting where he left off last season......which isn't a good sign.


28. Baltimore Orioles (4-1)
Previous Ranking:
29
The Orioles have had terrible outings from their starting pitchers, but because of the improved play of the bullpen and the strong offensive performances by Nick Markakis, Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, and Luke Scott, the Orioles have the best record in the majors after the first week.


29. Florida Marlins (3-3)
Previous Ranking:
30
Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla are just about the only bright spot on this young team. The Florida pitching staff looks as if it is going to be the worst in the league.


30. San Francisco Giants
Previous Ranking:
28
The offense is going to be the worst in the majors all season long. Barry Zito is already making Brian Sabean regret signing him to that huge contract last offseason as Zito has given up 8 runs so far in 10 innings pitched. He certainly shouldn't one of the highest paid pitchers in the game. The Giants are guaranteed to lose 100 games this year.
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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