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Blog Entry

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

Posted on: April 28, 2008 1:30 am
Edited on: April 28, 2008 1:35 pm
 

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
Comments

Since: Oct 29, 2006
Posted on: May 1, 2008 5:13 pm
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

ah- whats that? werent the Redbirds supposed to be clunking around at 20- 25 or so ?  that sound must be the silence from the 'expert's'.

go cards




Since: Apr 12, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2008 9:13 pm
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

Good post as always. Arizona is by far the class so far, but there is a lot of ball left to play.



Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2008 3:04 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

I think Erik Bedard has a slightly lesser toolset than Rich Harden, and in return he is slightly less fragile. We'll see how he turns out for the Mariners.



Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2008 10:03 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

Good post. I agree with most of your assessment. I totally agree with Brad on the Braves and Dodgers because both have better hitting than you give them credit for. I might even add the Reds to that comment because they've been consistently decent but just haven't been able to win. I think you overlooked the poor hitting of the Brewers and Royals and put too much stock in Erik Bedard for the Mariners. Time will tell.




Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2008 5:53 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

Haha. I remember rellying on Sidney Ponson to win ball games. So glad that is over with.



Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2008 3:08 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

Great job with the rankings as usual. I love how insightful your comments and blurbs are on the teams. Much better than the sarcasticness that passes for "wit" done by Eric Mack.

Quick thoughts on a few teams... I think you might have the Braves and Dodgers just a bit low (they've had some bad luck, check out their Runs Scored vs. their Runs Against). And if the Mets, Yankees and Red Sox continue to play the way the did last week they will probably need to drop even further.

And for what it's worth, I don't understand how the Marlins keep winning either. Hanley Ramerez is key though.



Since: May 10, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2008 2:18 am
 

MLB Power Rankings: Week 5

The Angels and A's actually play 4 at the Big A this week...should be a good series.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com