Going crazy and overreacting to individual baseball games in April is dumb. You know this. I know this. And yet, it still happens. Who among us hasn't caught ourselves screaming at the TV during the first inning on a random Wednesday in April? I mean, what good is being a die-hard fan if we don't allow ourselves to embody the spirit of "fanatic?"
Here in the rankings, we try not to overreact, but that doesn't mean we don't react. Reacting is part of the game here.
For example, I put the Red Sox 30th last week as punishment for looking atrocious in being swept by what might prove to be the worst 2021 team. Did I really believe the Red Sox were going to be the worst team in baseball for this season? Of course not. I had them 14th in the rankings just three games earlier. To overreact to a series like that would have been beyond stupid. They are out of the doghouse now with a six-game winning streak behind J.D. Martinez's scorching-hot start. They have seen a gigantic rise this week with the entire New England region hoping they won't draw my wrath again (or maybe they want it to spur another hot streak?).
Bigger picture, we could go back to the 2019 Nationals, who were famously 19-31 through 50 games and still ended up the World Series champions. How absurd would it have been if, at the time of the 19-31 record, I had them ranked in the top five? That's not how this works in a weekly assessment of the 30 teams.
We're still obviously in the range where looking at what I believe is the true talent level of the team has to factor in. Most teams haven't seen each other, head-to-head and the sample of play we've actually seen is tiny. As such, some people might believe things are a bit out of whack. The 6-3 Giants aren't better than the 4-5 Yankees, in my opinion, and the rankings will reflect as much. I didn't drop the Braves lower than 11th despite their 0-4 start and look at them now. Patience has virtue in some cases.
On the opposite end, yes, I'm going to react to some of what we've seen so far. I had the Cubs finishing second in NL Central heading into the season and they look awful. I'd have them fourth if I could redo my preseason predictions. Yes, based upon only nine games. I don't think it's an overreaction because I had spots 1-4 in the Central really close coming in and the other three teams just look much better.
In running through the process in my head, I feel like I'm hearing Michael Scott with his "adapt, readapt, apt" talk in saying to myself, "react, don't overreact, but do react."
|Kenley Jansen was all of a sudden hitting mid-90s with his cutter in shutting the door Sunday. If he is somehow fixed, the Dodgers are good enough to challenge the 116-win record.||--||21-17|
|I'm holding out hope that the Fernando Tatis Jr. injury goes away and he misses minimal time this season, but that did not look good.||1||22-17|
|Fun early season oddity: Kyle Tucker is hitting just .189, but has 11 RBI in nine games. He's driven home at least one run in eight of the Astros' nine games.||1||22-17|
|Well lookie what we have here ... are the Angels ... good?||6||16-21|
|Byron Buxton, MVP candidate?||1||12-24|
|They are 4-2 against the Braves and 2-1 against the Mets. That's a pretty impressive start.||3||21-18|
|Four straight wins after the 0-4 start and then jobbed on Sunday night by what looked to be a bad call. They're fine.||4||18-20|
|They responded to their punishment by going undefeated this week, obviously due directly to my motivation tactic. You're welcome, Boston.||22||24-16|
|I continue to have serious concerns with the depth of the pitching staff, but the Brent Honeywell debut was pretty nice on Sunday.||2||21-19|
|Vlad Jr.'s line right now: .379/.538/.621. Insert that "big eyes" emoji.||6||20-17|
|Maybe finally beating the Rays on Sunday will jar something loose with this group.||3||21-17|
|The 1-2 punch of Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes (who has 20 strikeouts and zero walks in 12 1/3 innings, by the way) needs to get a lot more attention. They are beasts.||6||20-19|
|I'm not overly worried about the series loss in Arizona. They were playing too well during the 6-1 start, so there was some normalizing coming. Still, it's a series loss to a bad team.||1||17-19|
|Do you think Jacob deGrom ever wants to cry out in the middle of the clubhouse, "what the hell did I ever do to you guys?"||9||18-14|
|They have a 2.32 starting pitcher ERA so far. Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman look excellent.||9||23-15|
|Catch the Yermin Mercedes fever! He's now hitting .536!||1||23-14|
|Tough to get a good read here, right? They are 5-4, but that's with a three-game sweep of the Marlins and otherwise two series losses to fellow Central foes.||3||23-16|
|Here's another good example of just not knowing what we've got in a team. They've only played the Tigers and Royals so far. And the Royals series was only a two-game split.||3||21-15|
|OK, so obviously the 0-6 start was rough, but the A's have now won three of four and the schedule really softens up with a Diamondbacks and Tigers week coming.||2||24-16|
|Is it too early to feel like my "over 73 wins" pick was brilliant? Yes, yes it is. I do like what I'm seeing, though.||1||17-21|
|You have to feel good about a 5-4 start here, but man, what a bummer to see James Paxton go down like that.||2||19-20|
|They started the season with six of their first nine games against the Pirates. They are 4-5. The leader among regulars in batting average is Javier Baez at .242. That's just not going to cut it.||9||18-19|
|They still lost the game, but the life they showed in that comeback to force extra innings Friday could've been an early turning point. They trucked the Reds twice after that.||3||17-22|
|That's an awfully tough schedule to open after having their season delayed. They don't deserve to be any higher, but I'm not gonna completely come down on them either.||8||15-19|
|This past week made a lot more sense than the sweep in Boston.||3||16-22|
|Dane Dunning looked outstanding in his start against what looks to be a good Blue Jays lineup. That was a good sign.||1||18-22|
|With Dodgers, Mets, Astros and Phillies coming up, it looks like a rough schedule. Then again, when almost everyone else is better than you, every game seems daunting.||1||15-24|
|After a six-game losing streak in which they looked every bit the worst team in baseball, the Pirates outscored the Cubs 15-3 in wins on Saturday and Sunday. Go figure.||1||16-22|
|We won't see a bigger screw-job the rest of the season than how the Marlins lost to the Mets on Friday. Total garbage.||4||17-21|
|After that 2-0 start, the Tigers have gone 1-6. That's about right.||10||13-25|