Blog Entry

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Posted on: May 6, 2008 8:38 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2008 8:39 pm
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2008 6:19 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Hey Tigertowner,

But Volquez is something they haven't had in Dallas since, well you might have to go all the way back to Nolan Ryan. A strikeout, lights out man for the rotation.

Try last year. He was nothing to get excited about. Batters are seeing him for the first time with Cincy. They will begin to tee off on him in a couple of months. Just wait.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2008 3:09 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

I like the move up for the Twins, in your opinion do you think they can keep it up.
It depends on what you mean by "keep it up."  The Twins aren't playing that good of baseball right now. The thing is, everyone in the central is just playing worse. At 17-15, the team is playing around .500 baseball yet have somehow managed to find themselves in first. Every other division in baseball has a team with at least 20 wins right now leading the pack..... So if you mean "keep it up" as in playing .500 baseball, then sure, I could definitely envision the Twins doing that. However, I don't think they can stay in first place in the American League Central for the entire season. I initially predicted that the Indians would once again win the division and I'm sticking with that prediction. Sure, both Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia have started out slow, but Sabathia has picked it up in recent games and his track record is good enough for me. In addition Cliff Lee is just unstoppable right now. I truly think the Indians will pull ahead of the rest of the division by the end of May. We'll see though....

I think the Bats still have yet to consistantly come alive like they could.The problem with the bats, as I mentioned in my rankings, is that the Twins don't walk. They have one of the worst on base percentages of any team in the majors. So when the bats go cold, players can't contribute on offense in any other way. Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young (especially) need to learn patience at the plate. Both kids have great raw talent, but until they learn to take some pitches and get themselves in better counts, the Twins offense is going to be up and down.

Before the season I was very optimistic about the Starting rotationThe Twins don't have an ace in the rotation, but the thing that will make them competitive is their pitching depth. If any one player goes down with injury, or is performing poorly, the Twins have another young arm that is just as good that they can replace him with. They won't get many shutdown performances from their starters, yet they won't get lit up either. As long as the pitching can get to the 6th, the team has one of the best bullpens in the league that they can turn the game over to.

Oh, How about Gomez hitting for the cycle? Kid has talent, just if he was better at the plate and was consistant!He should continue to get better the more he continues to play. The main concern for me (as stated earlier) about Gomez is him just getting on base. If he could just learn patience at the plate, he'll draw some walks, and then he'll automatically be on second base because his speed is amazing.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2008 12:25 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Good job again bp...

Your point about Edinson Volquez is a slam dunk. The Rangers have Josh Hamilton instead and he is developing into a stud.

But Volquez is something they haven't had in Dallas since, well you might have to go all the way back to Nolan Ryan. A strikeout, lights out man for the rotation.

You have the Tigers ranked #21.

For shame. They'd be much higher if they could just get more than one quality start out of the rotation every two weeks, guys that could field the corner infield positions, some steady hitting (5 shutouts in 35 games with this lineup?!) and anybody in the bullpen to hold any lead.

Jair Jurrjens is 4-2 and 2.84 with the Braves. Chipper Jones raves about how outstanding he has been, and how competitive, mature and consistent he is.

Edgar Renteria hits with consistency and moves so slowly to his right at shortstop that hourglasses stop releasing sand from the top to the bottom chamber every time a ball is hit to him on that side.

If I see a redux of 1987 with Jurrjens starring as John Smoltz and Edgar Renteria as Doyle Alexander (I know Doyle is a pitcher and Edgar is a shortstop) but the last time a trade with Atlanta looked this bad it took 20 years for the Tigers to get back in the playoffs.

At least the Tigers made the playoffs in '87...


Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2008 8:36 am

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

You were a little generous to the Brewers. They did worse than that.

See my post on the A's and Angels. 2 pitchers don't make a rotation.

I got a world of grief for ranking the Cubs and Cardinals the same place you did. It must be nice to be the king.

I think it's a little early in the season to judge the Braves by their strength of schedule.

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2008 3:53 am

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

So far the AL Central has gone how I expected (maybe not the order or position of teams in the standings) but how close it was.  Every team in the AL Central is close to each other and will battle it out all year long.  It would be nice to see these teams play eachother at there best, it seems when one team gets hot, the top team drops out.

I like the move up for the Twins, in your opinion do you think they can keep it up. Before the season I was very optimistic about the Starting rotation (though I thought Liriano would be playing a role, as with Slowey, who is set to come back with Baker on the DL).  I think the Bats still have yet to consistantly come alive like they could.  Delmon Young has yet to hit since the first few weeks and it is very disapointing because he has talent.  It seems that Mauer is coming around but it seems like its either Mauer OR Morneau hitting, not both hot at the same time, or at least consistant.  I think if the Starters can at least get it to the 6th and to the bullpin and the bats stay some what hot the Twins could stay up top.  If it gets to Nathan its most likey lights out...

Oh, How about Gomez hitting for the cycle? Kid has talent, just if he was better at the plate and was consistant!

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2008 5:46 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

you gotta give them some credit for their 5 game win streak
First of all, it was a 4 game win streak. Second of all, all they did was take two of three from the Royals and two of three from the A's. It wasn't an extremely difficult week. Sure, the series win against the A's was unexpected, but (as I stated earlier) they still have the worst record in the American League, the worst pitching in the American League, and the worst defense in the American League. Nothing has changed since last week.

I think you're going to hard on the Braves. Yeah, they're only 15-15, but I think they've had some hard luck, close losses..... (BTW- Their Pythagorean Theorem record is 19-11 right now).I know. I've looked at the pythagorean record before making my rankings....I find it interesting that you use this as an argument for the Braves, yet you go on to call the A's and "enigma" when their pythagorean record is 22-13. It doesn't make much sense to me. As far as the Braves go, I advise you to please look at their strength of schedule. It has been the easiest of any team so far in the majors. The fact that they aren't winning against weaker opponents is alarming. They have losing records so far against Colorado, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Florida. Things will only get harder for the Braves from here on out.

Dodgers should be a few places higher because only the Diamondbacks and the Cubs have a better offense than them (Andruw Jones aside) and their pitching is among the best in the NL.You are probably judging offense by runs (in which the Dodgers are 3rd). However, I measure offense by team OPS+ in which five teams are ahead of them and the Phillies are right their with them tied for 6th. As far as their pitching goes, I agree for the most part. However, there is quite a huge difference between runs given up at home and on the road. In addition, much like the Braves, the Dodgers have had the 2nd easiest schedule in the majors thus far.

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2008 5:00 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

I think you ranked the rays a little to far down the list, sure their only 16-15, but they are playing the red soxs and the yankees which should be concidered when making the rankings. The Braves, Blue Jays, and the White Sox should have been ranked below the Rays.

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: May 7, 2008 2:49 am

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

I get what you're saying about the Rangers still having one of the worst records in the MLB, but you gotta give them some credit for their 5 game win streak and taking a series from the Athletics. Even if one of those games was given to them by shoddy defense on the Athletics part. But still, at least bump them up to #29 or something.

Overall though, very solid rankings as usual. However, also as usual, I have a couple things I'd like to point out.

I think you're going to hard on the Braves. Yeah, they're only 15-15, but I think they've had some hard luck, close losses. Yeah, it's important to win those close ones, but if you put it in perspective, when they win they tend to win big, and when they lose, they tend to lose close. They're real players there and I think if the team can keep performing the way they've been even without John Smoltz, Rafael Soriano and Mike Hampton then they will go above .500 where they belong. (BTW- Their Pythagorean Theorem record is 19-11 right now).

My other quibbles are minor. The Angels are overperforming, and their impressive/unimpressive bipolar pitching performance against the Athletics aside, this is a team that without John Lackey should would be lucky to win more than 90 games. With him they might win 95. The Athletics are still an enigma, with incredible pitching, but a bipolar hitting crew. Their defense has been horrible thus far, but I'm glad that you don't have anyone in the AL ranked over them except the Angels and Red Sox. The Dodgers should be a few places higher because only the Diamondbacks and the Cubs have a better offense than them (Andruw Jones aside) and their pitching is among the best in the NL.

Parting shot: How long with the Yankees play .500 ball before everyone takes them out of their Top 10?

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2008 1:01 am

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Let me get this straight. The Rangers go on a 5 game winning streak and take 2 out of 3 from the A's and we still get plunked in 30th? Hahaha. Good times.You got to put things into perspective though. You mention all of that, but the Rangers still have the worst record in the American League (though will probably be tied with Seattle after tonight). So far the Rangers are still last in the league in pitching and they are also last in the league in defense (along with Seattle coincidentally). Quite frankly, I just don't see a real good reason to move the Rangers up in my power rankings.

I am as shocked as everyone else... It's only two starts, but even still, if they can get ANYTHING out of Ponson it's a good sign. The Rangers and Mariners are killing themselves right now with their poor play. They both are going to be 7.5 games back after tonight and have a lot of ground to make up if they want to get back into this thing. It's even harder to do with the A's playing well right now.

Got to be honest with you BP. The A's pitching looked really good last weekend. Smith looked great. You might be right about that Haren trade after all.I really don't know what the A's are going to do with all this pitching. I'm dead serious. The starters have been excellent every game out and with Harden coming back (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9 K's in rehab start tonight), I'm at a loss for who is going to get demoted. As far as the bullpen goes, both Santiago Casilla and Andrew Brown have yet to give up a run and Joey Devine (who the A's got for Kotsay) is 3-0 with a 0.75 era. In addition, Keith Foulke is coming off the DL this week.

I guess it's a good problem to have. I'm not sure what I'd do if I were Beane. Meanwhile, Bob Geren is doing one hell of a job getting everybody at bats and playing time. It's been a crazy first 5 weeks for the A's.

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: May 6, 2008 10:11 pm

MLB Power Rankings: Week 6

Let me get this straight. The Rangers go on a 5 game winning streak and take 2 out of 3 from the A's and we still get plunked in 30th? Hahaha. Good times.

Sidney Ponson a.k.a. The BFA(Big Fat Aruban) has been lights out. I am as shocked as everyone else... 

Got to be honest with you BP. The A's pitching looked really good last weekend. Smith looked great. You might be right about that Haren trade after all.

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