MLB Power Rankings: Blue Jays and Cardinals dig a hole and there's a new No. 1
It is early, but the Jays and Cards may be digging a hole they can't get out of
Are St. Louis Cardinals fans breathing easier yet? Now that they've won two in a row, they are only four games under .500. Of course, that 5-9 mark is still one of the worst records in baseball and the 3-9 start through Sunday was one of the worst in memory for the NL's most decorated franchise.
There are some bad signs already. With Alex Reyes out for the season, the rotation isn't very deep -- especially given Michael Wacha 's shaky injury history, Lance Lynn coming off Tommy John surgery and Adam Wainwright being 35. Wainwright looks like he's in his decline phase as well. There aren't many arms to be trusted in that bullpen and there has been a ton of inconsistency in that offense.
Overall, only one team in baseball has fewer wins than the Cardinals' five and that's not something we're accustomed to seeing, even with the caveat that it's still very early. It's late early for the Cardinals, but the good news is that being only four games under .500 at this point isn't a death knell.
Things could be much, much worse, too, Cardinals nation. Ask the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans. They are now 2-11 and sporting the worst record in all of baseball. It's not even close, really. Every other team has at least five wins. The worse news is that 2-11 teams pretty much never, historically, make the playoffs. The Blue Jays could get hot and fix things, but it is starting to seem pretty unlikely.
You can see the pratfalls all over the place and it kind of feels like we should have known coming into the season (to be fair, I had the Jays missing the playoffs, but still finishing third in the AL East). Russell Martin is 34 and catchers don't have a tendency to age well. Jose Bautista is 36 and coming off a down year. Kendrys Morales is 34 and big sluggers post-steroid era don't tend to age well. Troy Tulowitzki is still good, but he's also post-prime. Francisco Liriano has an old arm for age 33 and had an overall bad year in 2016 (even if he was good in Toronto after the trade). Marco Estrada is 33 and J.A. Happ is 34 and in the case of the latter, he surely had regression coming after last season. I love Roberto Osuna , but the bullpen in front of him isn't particularly deep.
This isn't to say we should have expected the Blue Jays to be the worst team in the league. They have tons of good parts, too. Those will start to show and they'll play better. They won't be the worst team this season and I'm fairly confident in that. They are, however, the worst team in baseball right now. I'm not sure predicting them to finish over .500 at this point would be prudent, either.
Further complicating matters for the Jays would be the presence of the Baltimore Orioles , Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees , who all find their way into the top five this week. Even the Tampa Bay Rays aren't a bad ballclub by any stretch. It was going to be tough competition in the East anyway, but starting 2-11 really puts the Blue Jays in a deep hole that will be incredibly difficult out of which to climb.
Feel free to yell at me via Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: Matt.firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, if we disagree it's probably because one of us is biased and/or stupid and it's probably not me.
||They are 8-4 with Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo hitting poorly. That'll play at the one spot.||1||14-6|
||If the Astros aren't your favorite team and you get the chance to watch them, try it. They are very fun.||7||14-7|
||Just in case everyone forgot about him, Craig Kimbrel is still on the short list of best relievers in baseball.||5||11-9|
||I've probably been down on the Yankees more than most people (aside from their legions of haters, of course), but that eight-game winning streak has to earn them a hefty promotion here in the Official Power Rankings.||16||12-7|
||They have been playing pretty terribly since that 5-2 start, but here's the thing: The Reds and Brewers aren't better. The Pirates just lost their best player for half the season and the Cardinals have been way worse. I see no reason for concern or to drop them further than this just yet. If this keeps up through next week, a large tumble is coming, though. (I actually wrote that before the comeback win on Tuesday, but it still holds true).||4||12-9|
||How about that Adam Eaton acquisition? He's hitting .319 with a .421 on-base percentage so far. Getting on base like that in front of the likes of Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy is a thing of beauty.||2||15-6|
||Ian Kinsler is only hitting .200. Miguel Cabrera is only hitting .222. Victor Martinez is only hitting .205 with no extra-base hits. J.D. Martinez is hurt. And yet the Tigers are 8-5.||--||11-9|
||Similar to the Cubs, there's too much talent and track record here to merit falling much further just yet.||2||11-9|
||They've won 2/3 of their games so far and the offense hasn't even come alive yet as a whole. And you know it will.||3||14-8|
||I know the Padres are offensively challenged, but Shelby Miller threw the ball very well on Tuesday night. D-Backs have to be at least slightly encouraged there.||--||14-9|
||The only series the Dodgers have won so far this season came against the Padres. The talent keeps them here, for now.||6||10-12|
||They're 9-5 without much of Joey Votto being Joey Votto (his big night Tuesday notwithstanding). Reds fans have to be ecstatic with the start.||2||10-12|
||After moving his average from .259 to .303 between 2015-16, J.T. Realmuto is hitting .356 so far this year. Solid work again from an underrated player.||3||10-9|
||Is it possible for the 1-2 punch of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom to be underrated? Because I kind of feel like they might be.||11||8-12|
||I don't think they ultimately contend, but I do think there's enough here to make this team a pretty annoying non-contender to the actual contenders (that's a compliment, guys). Also, more guys should go play in Korea for a few years if it means you come back as prime Barry Bonds.||12||12-11|
||If we already thought of a team as a fringe contender and Starling Marte is lost for 80 games, what's that make them? Right on the heels of a great sweep in Wrigley Field, too. What a gut punch to a very good organization.||6||9-12|
||What an encouraging start from Corey Dickerson, as he's hitting .315/.362/.574. I think it's probably fair to say it's a tough adjustment to leave Coors Field, as Dickerson had to adjust in 2016 to life out of the elevation.||2||11-12|
||Is an Avisail Garcia breakout season upon us? He's still only 26, so it's possible. Through Tuesday, he is hitting .440/.481/.680.||11||11-9|
||Buster Posey coming back and immediately getting himself three hits after being on the concussion disabled list was a great sight.||1||8-14|
||Lorenzo Cain is heating up (12 for his last 25). His injury-riddled down year in 2016 was a portion of what went wrong.||5||7-14|
||Starting pitcher Andrew Triggs is through three starts and 17 2/3 innings without having allowed a single earned run. Some might say he has been ... Triggered?||2||10-11|
||They just needed to come home to their beloved SunTrust Park, right?||8||7-12|
||As many things that went right for the 2016 Rangers, an equal number so far are going wrong.||6||10-12|
||Nothing like losing six in a row to kill the "Comeback Kids" early reputation.||13||11-12|
||I can't see them ever being any lower than this. They'll get better. As noted in the intro, it already started.||2||9-11|
||Just when they started to look pretty good for a short stretch, they couldn't even get a single hit off Wei-Yin Chen. Tsk tsk.||--||9-13|
||Since their 5-1 start, the Twins have gone 2-6. I still don't think they're nearly as bad as last year. Instead, there will probably be lots of streakiness both ways this year.||14||10-11|
||Another week of this and they'll be last. I can only hang on to the level of talent for so long.||7||6-14|
||Someone to add to our ever-growing underrated players ledger: Cesar Hernandez.||1||10-9|
||Expect the Padres to spend the majority of the season here, but they still have one up on everyone else: They get to play in San Diego 81 times.||6||9-14|