My 2017 MLB Power Rankings Week 9
MLB Power Rankings
Did you miss me last week? Aww, that’s sweet. I missed you too. Have no fear, though, for I am back. So much has happened in the baseball world over the past two weeks. So much for me to catch up on. So much for me to tell you about! Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
*Note ~ As always all stats and records are through Sunday’s games.
*Double Note ~ Since there were no rankings last week I won’t be listing the last week’s ranking after each recap.
1. Houston Astros (41-16) ~ I said so much has happened in the past two weeks and that I was going to tell you all about it. And I will. But, with Houston, I’m going to tell you about what hasn’t happened over the past two weeks. The Astros haven’t lost a game since May 25th. That’s 10 in a row for the ‘stros who boast baseball’s best record.
2. Washington Nationals (35-20) ~ The big hullabaloo in D.C. is still the fight that took place when Bryce Harper charged the mound after being plunked with a fastball from San Francisco’s Hunter Strickland. Punches were thrown and landed. It’s not every day that you see a superstar like Harper involved in a fracas. The Nats are fortunate he walked away without a major injury. He was, however, suspended for three games.
3. Colorado Rockies (36-23) ~ With all of Colorado’s success this year, it’s interesting to note that former All-Star Carlos Gonzalez is not a big contributor. Gonzo has struggled all year as evidenced by his .234/.308/.355 slash line. He has just 4 home runs and one stolen base. It wasn’t that long ago that he put up four consecutive 20-20 seasons. He is in the last year of a seven-year $80 million deal and one has to wonder if this will be his last season as a Rockie.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (35-23) ~ Everyone knows that Clayton Kershaw is a strikeout machine. The Dodgers ace recorded his 2,000th career K during his last outing which made him the second-fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach that mark. It took the lefty 277 games. The only pitcher to do it quicker? Randy Johnson in 262 outings. Kershaw did it quicker than the likes of Nolan Ryan (287), Roger Clemens (294) and Pedro Martinez (300). That’s some damn fine company if I do say so myself. Which I did. Well, I typed it myself. That still counts.
5. New York Yankees (32-22) ~ The Yankee offense gets all the pub, and with good reason, but, they aren’t the only ones performing well in the Bronx. New York’s pitching staff has been getting better than expected results from the likes of Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery. Even CC Sabathia has shown flashes of his once-dominant self. The outlier? Masahiro Tanaka, the presumptive ace, has struggled to a 6.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP which are a far cry from his career 3.12 ERA and 1.045 WHIP entering the season. If he can return to form the Yankees would be that much more dangerous.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-25) ~ They were no-hit over the weekend but that is more about Miami than Arizona. The Snakes have received some fine pitching performances themselves this year led by Robbie Ray. The man with two first names has flipped the script on 2016 when he went 8-15 with an ERA just under five. He is currently sporting an even 3.00 ERA and has five wins on the year including his first ever complete game which was also his first ever shutout. He is averaging 11 strikeouts per 9 innings and is a perfect complement to ace Zack Greinke.
7. Boston Red Sox (31-25) ~ David Price is back and he looks to be just fine. He has made two starts since spending the first two months of the season on the disabled list and gave up just five hits in 12 innings. Two of those were home runs, but I digress. I have to believe he won’t be giving up long balls on 40% of the hits he allows from here on out. I’d bet the farm on that. And I don’t even own a farm.
8. Baltimore Orioles (29-26) ~ Chris Tillman has looked lost since returning from the disabled list. The former ace of the staff has gone 1-3 in his six starts while registering a quality start only twice. His 5.59 ERA and 1.83 WHIP leave a lot to be desired. Unless you are rotation mate Kevin Gausman as both of those would be improvements on his 5.92 and 1.84. Eesh.
9. Cleveland Indians (29-26) ~ Danny Salazar, who won 11 games and made the All-Star Team last year, has been demoted to the bullpen. He’s made just two appearances since his demotion eight days ago and has given up four hits and an earned run in 2 2/3 innings. If and when he returns to the starting rotation remains to be seen.
10. Chicago Cubs (28-27) ~ Nearly a week into June and the Cubbies are still hovering around .500. Is it time to panic? Eh. Nobody else in the NL Central has shown enough to make me think the Cubs won’t be on top when the season ends. The Amazing Race just came to its season end and contestants had a challenge to do in Wrigley Field which looked fun. I’d love to go on that show. Someone just needs to convince my wife that she should try out with me.
11. Milwaukee Brewers (30-27) ~ Eric Thames seems to be tested for PEDs after every game in which he homers. He spent the past three years terrorizing the KBO and continued mashing upon his return to the majors. He was tested often early. Then he slumped. When he broke out of the slump with another long ball, he was promptly tested after the game. It’s a little absurd at this point. Let the man play! I’m not promoting PEDs in any way but he hasn’t yet failed a test!
12. Tampa Bay Rays (29-30) ~ Three straight losses have dropped the Rays into a tie for fourth in the ultra-competitive AL East. The Rays and Jays are both just one game under .500. Could every team in the division finish this year with a winning record? Now that’s something I’d like to see.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (28-29) ~ Former MVP Josh Donaldson has returned to the lineup after missing a month with a calf injury. He’s hit just .250 in his eight games back, but six of his eight hits have gone for extra bases including four home runs. Once he rounds back into form that average should creep back up. There doesn’t seem to be any rust in the power department.
14. Minnesota Twins (29-24) ~ The Twins are still atop the AL Central, however, there are some concerns about this team. Their team pitching ranks in the bottom third of most categories. Same for the offensive side of the ball. They are the only first place team with a negative run differential (-19) and in fact, are one of only two teams (Baltimore) with a negative run differential and a record over .500. Something’s gotta give.
15. St. Louis Cardinals (26-28) ~ Matt Carpenter is struggling. In his first year as the starting first baseman for St. Louis, Carpenter is carrying a paltry .213/.349/.408 triple slash line. That just won’t do for a premier power position like first base. He does lead the team with nine home runs, but the career .280 hitter needs to pick things up. Makes you wonder why they parted ways with Matt Adams for next to nothing.
16. Detroit Tigers (28-28) ~ I feel like the Tigers have been hovering around the .500 mark for the entire season. I can’t get a feel if they are good or bad. One has to wonder what GM Al Avila feels. He will be the one making the decision if the Tigers will be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline.
17. Texas Rangers (26-31) ~ Sam Dyson stepped into the closer’s role last season and did a phenomenal job by saving 38 games while the Rangers won the AL West. This season? Not so much. Dyson was 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA in just 17 appearances before he was designated for assignment over the weekend. Quite the fall from grace.
18. Los Angeles Angels (29-31) ~ Albert Pujols has officially joined the 600-homer club. He is just the 9th player in MLB history to reach the milestone and can conceivably be in 7th place on the all-time list by season’s end. He would need just 13 more dingers to pass Sammy Sosa and Jim Thome. The next closest on the career active list? Miguel Cabrera with, ahem, 451. We won’t see 600 again for a long time.
19. Seattle Mariners (28-30) ~ The Mariners are cursed. There’s no other explanation. How can one team be so injury-riddled? It boggles the mind. Jean Segura and his AL-leading .341 batting average have landed on the disabled list due to a sprained ankle. It truly is remarkable. Condolences, Mariners fans.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates (26-31) ~ The rotation appears ready to get a boost as Jameson Taillon is just one more rehab start away from rejoining the big league club. Taillon has missed the last month after a bout with testicular cancer. Baseball aside, here’s hoping Taillon is healthy and doesn’t have to hear that C word again.
21. Cincinnati Reds (25-30) ~ The Reds scored 16 runs in their three game set against the Braves. They lost two of those games because they allowed 21 runs. Scoring is not the problem for Cincinnati. Keeping the other team off the scoreboard. That’s where the trouble lies.
22. New York Mets (24-31) ~ Coming into the season the Mets had arguably one of the best rotations in the game. Noah Syndergaard. Matt Harvey. Jacob deGrom. Here we are in June and the Mets pitching as a team is some of the worst in baseball. They may get a little reprieve, however, as Steven Matz is expected back from the DL after just one more rehab start. The Mets could certainly use another healthy arm.
23. Miami Marlins (24-31) ~ Edinson Volquez tossed the first no-hitter of 2017 and the sixth in Marlins history. I remember a time when no-no’s were a rarity. Now it seems we have one every year. Who will be next?
24. Atlanta Braves (24-30) ~ Let me illustrate just how bad the NL East is. The Braves are 10 and a half out of first place. They are six games under .500. Their best hitter, Freddie Freeman, has been on the DL for a month. Their “best” pitcher Julio Teheran has a 5.40 ERA. Offseason acquisitions Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey? They have respective ERAs of 5.10 and 6.99. Closer Jim Johnson has blown four of his 15 save opportunities. Dansby Swanson is tied for the league lead with 11 errors at short. The Braves are in second place in the division. Yikes.
25. Chicago White Sox (24-31) ~ They’ve surrendered double digit runs in three of their last five games, all losses. It isn’t all bad in Chicago. Derek Holland seems to have found himself again during his first year as a White Sox. The former Ranger has a 3.43 ERA. He hasn’t had a sub 4.00 ERA in a full season since 2013. He is a free agent at the end of the season, and if he keeps this up, should be able to earn himself a solid payday.
26. Kansas City Royals (24-31) ~ We’re all going streaking! Or at least Whit Merrifield is. Merrifield is currently riding a 19-game hitting streak which is the longest in the majors this season. It is the longest by a Royal since Alex Gordon in 2011. Will he make it 20? I hope he brought his green hat.
27. Oakland A’s (24-32) ~ Sixteen and a half games. That is the deficit the A’s face in the AL West. Just a few days into June and they are sixteen and a half out. A big reason for that, other than the fact that the red hot Astros are in the division, is their struggles on the road. They are just 8-20 on the road, yet have a winning record (16-12) at home.
28. San Diego Padres (23-35) ~ They swept the World Champion Chicago Cubs. Let them have this one.
29. San Francisco Giants (23-35) ~ They have the same record as the San Diego Padres. They just lost two of three to the Phillies who have the worst record in baseball. Which of those is more upsetting? Do we have any Giants fans in here?
30. Philadelphia Phillies (19-35) ~ After their game on April 27th the Phillies were 11-9. It’s been all downhill since then. The club has gone 8-26 and just won back-to-back games for the first time since that game on the 27th. The Phillies knew this was going to be a rebuilding year, but I think they expected just a little bit more.
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.