MLB Power Rankings: Rockies and Diamondbacks giving us wild, wild NL West
The Giants down, the Dodgers mediocre, the Rockies and Diamondbacks up ... what gives?
Given that we haven't even gotten to May, broad, sweeping conclusions about teams can be folly, but we can start to kind of figure out what teams got off to slow starts and seem like they probably aren't going to have good seasons. I think the Toronto Blue Jays fit the bill there. The Kansas City Royals probably do, too, as I predicted heading into the year.
How about the San Francisco Giants ?
They won the World Series in 2014 and then made the playoffs last season with a similar nucleus. They needed to shore up the bullpen in the offseason and added closer Mark Melancon . Sure, there were holes (left field, where a 52-year-old Barry Bonds seems like he'd be an easy upgrade), but overall, many believed heading into the season that this would be a playoff contender.
As things stand, they are 7-14, have looked pretty poor in several areas and won't have Madison Bumgarner back until around the All-Star break. To write them off would be foolish, but we can reasonably say that it's possible this won't be a good team in 2017. It's pretty fair to say that they look bad, really, and that's a surprise.
In fact, the way the entire NL West looks right now is pretty wild.
The Colorado Rockies look outstanding and have surged to number five in the Official Power Rankings. They started the season without Ian Desmond and David Dahl , but Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra have stepped up and helped the cause. That's what happens on good teams. The "next man up" mentality manifests itself into winning baseball. Last September, and most of that still stands up. This doesn't mean I'm declaring them a playoff team on April 26, but I do think they'll contend.
Will the Arizona Diamondbacks as well? Not much went right for them in 2016, but there's a decent amount of talent on this team and it has started 14-8 with a very powerful offense. Pitching will probably catch up to them at some point, though the rotation has the ability to be very good. Think if they get the best versions of Zack Greinke , Robbie Ray , Shelby Miller , Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker ? Again, there's talent. Also, here's fun one: The D-Backs are 10-2 at home. They didn't win their 10th home game last season until June 7.
The San Diego Padres , well, they aren't very good but I don't think many believed they would have eight wins at this point in the season. Some of their younger players have shown nice flashes of upside, too. Overall, given the state of the franchise, it has to be considered an encouraging start. Or, at the very least, not a horrible one.
Meantime, the four-time defending division champion Los Angeles Dodgers have injury woes and haven't yet hit their stride, sitting 10-11. They usually do and probably will, notably when they get healthier.
Regardless, the scene has been set for a topsy-turvy season in the wild, wild (NL) West. Let's hope it keeps up, because pennant races are a lot more exciting when upstart, unexpected teams hang around in contention.
As always, feel free to hit me up with complaints, comments or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MattSnyderCBS.
||Wade Miley has a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings. What is this sorcery?||--||13-6|
||They are 14-6 with Carlos Correa hitting just .215/.297/.308. He will hit, too.||--||14-6|
||One small item of concern was their starting pitching getting hit hard a few times early, but the Kyle Hendricks six scoreless innings on Tuesday should alleviate some of that.||2||12-8|
||The Nationals look awesome, but whether or not this season is a success comes down to how they perform in October, should they get there (hint: They will).||2||14-6|
||With 14, the Rockies are tied for the most wins in baseball.||4||14-7|
||Sure, the entire team having the flu had an impact, but the lack of power through 18 games was pretty excessive. Perhaps powering up on Sunday will get them going at the plate.||3||11-8|
||So since I picked them to make the playoffs last year, can I proclaim myself a genius if they make it this year? No? Why not? C'mon! You are being so unreasonable here.||3||14-8|
||Hot and cold so far, but I see no reason to strongly believe in anyone else winning the AL Central. They'll get hot soon.||--||10-9|
||The Yankees started 1-4, won eight straight and have now lost three of their last five. Early-season roller coaster alert!||5||11-7|
||Small-sample fun: The Tigers have one of the most maligned and least reliable bullpens in baseball, but they are 5-1 in one-run games so far.||3||11-8|
||In his last 11 games, the streaky Giancarlo Stanton has a 1.229 OPS and seven home runs. Before that, he had a .608 OPS and zero homers. Ride those streaks, big fella.||2||10-8|
||Even if they only let him throw five innings per start, the presence of Julio Urias in the rotation can only help this ballclub.||1||10-11|
||They haven't been more than three games above or below .500 so far this season and that seems like it'll be similar to how things go moving forward. That is lands the Rays 13th here speaks to a very small number of very good teams so far in 2017, and we've heard that parity is a good thing in pro sports.||4||11-11|
||The White Sox have been pretty good so far despite minimal offensive contributions from the likes of Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier. Of course, Miguel Gonzalez, Derek Holland and James Shields all have ERAs 2.00 and under. So things will normalize both ways.||4||10-9|
||The good news is the Cardinals are 6-2 since their awful start. The bad news is this still seems like a flawed ballclub. They're probably going to finish second in the NL Central (though I'd watch out for the Brewers), but will they come close to pushing the Cubs? I say no on that one and feel pretty damn confident.||10||9-11|
||I'm trying to avoid talking about him every week, but how can I not mention Eric Thames? This is so ridiculously fun. Well, except for the Reds' perspective. They have now allowed eight home runs to Thames this season. If Thames' homers only counted against the Reds, he'd still lead the majors.||1||12-11|
||Five-game winning streaks are cool, but are the Mariners and Rangers just bad? Hard telling just yet.||4||10-10|
||They get the four-game sweep over the Royals and I'm thinking maybe they'll start to turn it around. Then they lose two in a row at home to the Twins. Pretty lackluster April for the Rangers.||5||9-12|
||They've lost eight of nine and almost the entire team is hurt. As George Costanza once very matter-of-factly said: "This isn't going well."||5||8-11|
||Ervin Santana already has 35 innings pitched this season and sports a 0.77 ERA. There's some carry-over, too, as he had a 2.41 ERA in his last 18 starts in 2016, too.||7||10-10|
||Last week I praised Cesar Hernandez and now let's move on to Aaron Altherr, who is off to a great start (.364/.417/.667 with four doubles and two homers in only 33 at-bats).||8||9-9|
||I haven't seen a more predictable result in baseball this season than Mike Trout's home run to tie the game in the ninth off Santiago Casilla on Tuesday. The Angels have three walk-off wins, too, but overall sit 10-12 after a 6-2 start.||2||10-12|
||Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Reds have now gone 3-9 since their hot start.||11||10-12|
||Silver lining to what's been a pretty bad start: Gerrit Cole looked like the 2015 Cole on Tuesday against the Cubs. He was filthy.||8||8-12|
||They've won four of their last seven after that 2-11 start. I guess that's something, but the Jays are still 6-14.||3||6-14|
||I was hopeful for a King Felix renaissance, much in the same way Justin Verlander had one last season. Instead, I fear he's cooked. Opposing hitters are slashing .359/.379/.559 off him this season. And now he has a "dead arm?" *Heavy sigh*||--||8-13|
||They are penalized here for losing Madison Bumgarner. How could I not change my thinking of a team who -- for maybe more than two months -- subs in Ty Blach for Bumgarner? The Giants overall haven't looked very good anyway.||8||7-14|
||They rank dead last in the AL in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, hits, doubles and we'll just stop there. Dreadful start. Addendum: The 2014 World Series weeps at these rankings.||8||7-13|
||I'm enjoying the Austin Hedges impression of Rob Deer (.175 AVG, 6 HR, 19 K in 69 PA). That's always a Snyder-pleaser.||1||8-14|
||The Braves are 6-12 despite having a five-game winning streak wedged right into the middle of their thus-far schedule. That's a stellar oddity.||8||6-12|