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My 2017 MLB Power Rankings Week 15
MLB Power Rankings
Hello baseball my old friend. It’s time to write about you again. I’ll rank each team from the best to the worst. Are playoffs in the future or did that bubble burst? OK. I’ll stop. Anyway, after a nice long personal vacation, and then a vacation from baseball, it’s time to get back to my rankings. If you’re new here, I put in my two cents every week while ranking all 30 MLB teams. If you’re a repeat visitor, thanks for sticking around those few weeks without an update.
*Note ~ All stats and records are through Sunday’s games.
**Double Note ~ Since it’s been a few weeks I won’t be listing the Last Week’s Ranking after each team.
1. Houston Astros (62-30) ~ George Springer leads the team with 27 homers. In fact, Springer has more home runs than anyone in baseball not named Aaron Judge. Springer is Houston’s leadoff hitter. You might ask yourself if there’s a better spot in the lineup for him than the leadoff spot but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (64-29) ~ Through 14 starts Alex Wood is 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Through 19 starts Clayton Kershaw is 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Kershaw is striking out 10.81 batters per nine innings. Wood is just behind that with 10.49 per nine. Is Kershaw’s spot as the ace of the Dodgers in jeopardy? Ha. No. Of course not. But Wood is having an exceptional year and with those two atop the rotation they will be a tough out in the playoffs.
3. Washington Nationals (55-36) ~ The bullpen has been an issue all year for the Nats. With the trade deadline looming it should come as no surprise that bullpen help is where General Manager Mike Rizzo went shopping. In come Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from Oakland. Both have closing experience and both could split duties in the 9th inning for the Nats. The fact that they made the move now instead of waiting another two weeks should only help the club.
4. Boston Red Sox (52-41) ~ The Pablo Sandoval era in Boston is over. The Red Sox DFA’d the third baseman after he appeared in just 161 games over three seasons in Boston. His line during that time was a meager .237/.286/.360 with 14 homers and 59 RBI. A far cry from his time in San Francisco when he averaged a line of .294/.346/.465 across seven seasons. Could this be the end of the line for the Kung-Fu Panda?
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-39) ~ Five straight L’s for the D’Backs and just like that they are 10.5 games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. Their pitching is still among the best in the game and if the playoffs were to start today Arizona would be a participant. That said, they look to be buyers at the deadline and can use some help offensively. They may even want to look for a bullpen arm if they feel that Fernando Rodney might not be the most reliable person come playoff time.
6. Colorado Rockies (53-41) ~ George Springer isn’t the only leadoff hitter who can go yard. Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon leads the team with 21 and even participated in this year’s Home Run Derby. He was narrowly edged out in the first round by fellow NL West dweller Cody Bellinger. Now he will turn his focus back on Bellinger and the rest of the Dodgers in the race for the division crown.
7. New York Yankees (47-43) ~ Starter Michael Pineda looks to be headed for season-ending surgery with a damaged UCL. That likely means Tommy John. It’s a big blow to the veteran who will become a free agent after the season, but a bigger blow for the Yankees who have had trouble finding any kind of consistency from their pitching staff. Look for the Bombers to acquire a starting pitcher or two prior to the deadline.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (52-42) ~ The Brewers have to be the feel-good story of 2017. Right? At least team-wise. Like most experts I had them left for dead when the season started. An afterthought in a division featuring the defending champion Chicago Cubs, the perennial playoff contending St. Louis Cardinals and a still solid Pittsburgh Pirates team. They’ve eschewed that narrative and lead the division by 4.5 games. Could they keep that going and make the playoffs for the first time since 2011?
9. Tampa Bay Rays (49-44) ~ Don’t look now but the Rays are in second place in the AL East. They are just three back of Boston and a half-game up on the Yankees. A series sweep of either of them could go a long way in ascending to the top of the division. They’ll see the Yankees first when they head up I-95 for a four-game set in New York beginning July 27th.
10. Cleveland Indians (47-43) ~ Cleveland has lost four straight for the first time since 2015. Considering how up and down they’ve been all year that surprises me. The American League Central is the most wide-open division in baseball. Will the Indians look to help their struggling club as they try to return to the World Series?
11. Chicago Cubs (46-45) ~ Jose Quintana has a new home. Sort of. He will be switching sides in Chicago as he was traded from the White Sox to the Cubs. He had himself quite a first start for the Cubbies as well striking out 12, which is tied for the most strikeouts in a Cubs debut. Could he help jumpstart the Cubs from their season-long run of mediocrity? He shouldn’t hurt.
12. Kansas City Royals (45-45) ~ They scraped and clawed and fought their way back to the .500 mark. Now they are just two games behind Cleveland for the lead in the AL Central. Two months ago it looked like a certainty that K.C. would be sellers come the deadline. Barring a complete meltdown over the next two weeks, I’d have to think they will try and make one last push with the core players from their 2015 title.
13. Seattle Mariners (46-47) ~ Mitch Haniger has been a mess since coming back from the disabled list. Prior to his injury he was batting a robust .342/.447/.608. Since returning to the lineup on June 11th he has slashed just .206/.308/.343 with three home runs and seven RBI. Even more troubling is that he has struck out 30 times in 102 at-bats. Oblique injuries tend to linger. Methinks Haniger isn’t quite right just yet.
14. Texas Rangers (45-46) ~ A year after acquiring Cole Hamels, could the Rangers be ready to deal him? Or Yu Darvish for that matter? They are just a game under .500, but they are 16.5 games back in the AL West. Will they try and keep the band together for a push as the Wild Card? Or will they start to tear it down and look towards the future? They will certainly be an interesting team to watch as the deadline approaches.
15. Minnesota Twins (46-45) ~ Bartolo Colon is back baby! The last remaining Expo will make his Twins debut tomorrow. Whether that is a good thing for Minnesota remains to be seen as he posted an ugly 8.14 ERA with Atlanta this year. I guess he can’t be worse. Can he?
16. Los Angeles Angels (46-49) ~ The best player on the planet, Mike Trout, is back in the lineup. After missing more than a month with a torn ligament suffered while sliding headfirst into second base, Trout picked up right where he left off and slid headfirst into second base. No injury this time, but every Angels’ fans’ heart must have been in their chest.
17. Atlanta Braves (45-45) ~ The best player on the Braves, Freddie Freeman, is back in the lineup. After missing more than a month with a broken wrist, Freeman hasn’t shown any signs of rust in his first nine games since returning to the lineup as he has popped three home runs, drive in 10 and is hitting .319/.366/.632. Oh, and he’s playing some third base as well to keep Matt Adams’ bat in the lineup.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (44-48) ~ With the deadline looming and the Pirates sitting below the .500 water mark it looks like they could be sellers. In a big, big way. Could these be the last few games for Andrew McCutchen in a Bucs jersey? The face of the franchise has had himself quite the bounceback season after a disappointing 2016.
19. St. Louis Cardinals (44-47) ~ It’s been a down year for the Cards, but it isn’t all bleak. Rookie infielder Paul DeJong has impressed across his first 39 games hitting .302/.319/.576 with 20 extra base hits. He is the kind of young player St. Louis will lean on in the future.
20. New York Mets (41-48) ~ Like Detroit, the Mets should be sellers at the deadline. They have no chance to catch the Nats in the division. A wild card spot isn’t out of the question, but at seven games under they should just waive the white flag. Yoenis Cespedes has been in and out of the lineup all year. The pitching has been abysmal save for Jacob deGrom. Michael Conforto has cooled considerably following a torrid start to the year. Veterans like Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson could find themselves with a new home in the next few weeks.
21. Toronto Blue Jays (42-49) ~ Troy Tulowitzki is a shell of his former self. The perennial All-Star in Colorado, Tulo is having another miserable year north of the border. He is hitting just .244/.293/.383 which are his worst numbers since coming to Toronto in 2015. The oft-injured shortstop is signed through 2020. If the Jays are going to tear it down, moving his contract would be no easy task.
22. Baltimore Orioles (42-49) ~ Pitching wins championships. That’s the old adage. Sort of like how defense wins championships in the NFL. Well, the O’s have pitching. The problem is that it’s bad. Very, very bad. Their collective team ERA is 5.19 which is 29th in all of baseball. They are giving up more than six runs per game and it’s hard to be a competitive ballclub when you can’t keep your opponents off the scoreboard.
23. Detroit Tigers (41-49) ~ Let me be clear here: The Tigers will be sellers at the deadline. This is an aging team with its best years behind it. They should have re-tooled a few times in recent years, but kept adding pieces to try and win a title while owner Mike Ilitch was still around. He has since passed on and now it’s time for some of their veterans to move on as well. A full-blown gut job seems reasonable to me.
24. Miami Marlins (41-49) ~ Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour both put up impressive totals in the Home Run Derby, but both were eviscerated in the first round by Yankees Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. Former Yankee Derek Jeter is said to be part of a group looking to buy the Marlins. Will they undergo one more fire sale before the team is ultimately sold? Would that raise or lower the asking price?
25. Oakland A’s (42-50) ~ Oakland has already shipped off two of their bullpen pieces. Stephen Vogt was traded a bit earlier. The fire sale will continue with the likes of Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonso the biggest names that may be leaving the Bay area. The A’s of August will look a lot different than the A’s of April and May.
26. Chicago White Sox (38-52) ~ The changing of the guard continues In Chicago. With Quintana now gone, Rick Hahn will focus on moving veterans like Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier and David Robertson. Anyone not named Jose Abreu should theoretically be available. Time to usher in the future starting with Yoan Moncada.
27. Cincinnati Reds (39-52) ~ Cincinnati is staring at a third consecutive last place finish in the NL Central, but aside from Joey Votto, what do they have? Votto is one of the better first basemen in the majors and has 10-and-5 rights, but is it time for the Reds to approach him about a possible trade? He won’t be a free agent until 2024, so he could be a part of the next winning team in Cincy, however, it is more likely that team will arrive quicker if Votto is no longer there.
28. San Diego Padres (40-51) ~ Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the San Diego Padres will be sellers at the deadline. It’s like you know it will happen before we even get to this point of the season. Every year! San Diego hasn’t had a winning season since 2010 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. That team was led by Bruch Bochy who has had himself a bit of success in San Francisco since then.
29. San Francisco Giants (35-58) ~ Madison Bumgarner is back, but it doesn’t really matter. The Giants season is all but over. He will try and right the ship, however, as the Giants will look to avoid losing 100 games for just the second time in franchise history. Their current .376 winning percentage is their worst since 1902 when they finished the season 48-88.
30. Philadelphia Phillies (30-60) ~ My father-in-law is a Phillies fan. A big one at that. He told me about a rumor that the Phils will look to acquire Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich from the Marlins. As a Braves fan, I’d rather not see that happen. I suppose in two weeks or so we will know which one of us got our wish.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave feedback. Good or bad. I can take it. I will try and respond as quickly as possible. I can also be found on Twitter. Handle is in my profile. Jose Bautista follows me. Maybe more MLB players will. I can only hope.