May 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) celebrates his three run home run with first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) and second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Well, the first five weeks of the MLB season have been interesting to say the least. What does that mean in this week’s installment of the MLB Power Rankings?
One of the fun parts of the MLB Power Rankings is to look back at the start of the season and to see how different the results are at the end of the year. The same could be said at this point in the season, as teams that were expected to be contenders have proven otherwise, and those teams that were expected to be rebuilding have had surprising success.
And then, there are those teams that have just been complete disasters. For a variety of reasons, there have been a few teams this season that have been complete disappointments, be it injuries, ineffectiveness, or just a lack of cohesion in the clubhouse. And then, there are the New York Mets, whose situation with Matt Harvey is a dumpster fire of its own.
Likewise, there have been plenty of impressive displays on the field. Aaron Judge and Eric Thames do not appear to be slowing down any time soon. The Red Sox and Orioles have seen their rivalry explode. And Bartolo Colon continues to do Bartolo Colon things, albeit in a new city.
All in all, it has been an interesting first five weeks to the season. After a week hiatus, let us see where your favorite team ranks in this week’s edition of the MLB Power Rankings.
May 6, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy watches from the dugout during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals
Last rank: 30
Of all the possible trade chips for the Kansas City Royals, Jason Vargas may bring back the biggest return. While he will not continue to produce a 1.19 ERA and a 0.928 WHiP over the course of the season, he looks like a completely different pitcher this year.
San Francisco Giants
Last rank: 28
Remember when the Giants seemed to be a contender? Was it really just a couple of weeks ago? With an 11-21 record and a -69 run differential, the worst in baseball, it is difficult to imagine that things will change soon.
San Diego Padres
Last rank: 27
After playing relatively well at the start of the year, one has to wonder if the Padres are coming back down to Earth. They have lost their last four games in a row, and have the second worst run differential in the game. At least San Diego fans knew this would be a rebuilding year.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last rank: 29
The best story for the Blue Jays may have been Joe Biagini’s start on Sunday. Pressed into service due to injuries, he allowed just an unearned run in four innings. He’ll get another turn in the rotation, and if he pitches well, could be an answer as the fifth starter.
Last rank: 23
So much for the Braves dreams of contending. After having hopes of being decent this year, the Braves have the look of sellers once again. Given the Mets pitching situation, maybe they can send Bartolo Colon back to New York, where he’ll be given a hero’s welcome.
May 7, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso (17) celebrates with his team after a walk off two run home run by Athletics designated hitter Ryan Healy (not pictured) against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland Coliseum. The Athletics won 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports
Last rank: 24
Heading into this season, Yonder Alonso’s career high for homers was nine. He has already tied that mark in 2017. At 30 years old, it is highly unlikely that he has suddenly become a power hitter, but the A’s will certainly take that production.
Last rank: 22
Remember how the Pirates were desperate to get rid of Josh Harrison? Right now, he leads the team with five homers and a .305 batting average, while ranking second with a 1.1 WAR. If they had traded him as they hoped, just imagine how much worse Pittsburgh would be.
Los Angeles Angels
Last rank: 20
The Angels are hovering around .500 without most of their starting rotation, so there should be reason for optimism. However, Mike Trout has missed the last two games, and three of the past four, with hamstring issues. If he is out for any length of time, put a fork in the season.
New York Mets
Last rank: 19
Well, this season is turning into a dumpster fire for the Mets. Noah Syndergaard is on the 60 day DL because of a lat injury. Matt Harvey went AWOL, and has been suspended without pay. Harvey, meanwhile, has filed a grievance against being docked his paycheck. This will not end well.
Last rank: 21
As the Rangers continue to struggle, one of the more interesting rental players that could come available is Yu Darvish. He is starting to look like an ace once again, and should Texas find themselves out of contention, he could kickstart a rebuild in a hurry.
Apr 15, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton celebrates striking out the side against the Texas Rangers during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Last rank: 25
The Mariners pitching staff has been decimated by injuries in the starting rotation, but they are starting to right the ship. Winners of two in a row, and six of their past ten, they may be able to work their way back into contention if they can hang on until the cavalry arrives.
Last rank: 12
Marcell Ozuna and his family are certainly sad to see the Rays leave. Not only does Ozuna have a hit in every game he has played against Tampa Bay in his career, but he belted ahome run that hit the Rays 2011 Wild Card banner. His wife hit a homer in the wives and girlfriends softball game against the Rays this past week as well.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last rank: 26
Right before our eyes, Jake Odorizzi is starting to become that top of the rotation arm he was projected to be. This year, he has a 2.88 ERA and a 0.760 WHiP, having struck out 20 batters in 25 innings, carrying on his strong showing in his last 13 starts in 2016. The break out is finally happening.
Last rank: 14
The Phillies may have lost eight of their past ten games, but they just played the Dodgers, Cubs, and Nationals, a daunting slate if there ever was one. While they may not be ready to contend this season, Philadelphia looks like it is going to surprise in 2017.
Last rank: 13
So, who are the Twins? Are they the team from 2015 that contended for a postseason berth? Or are they the team from 2016 that struggled through the season. Five weeks into the year, we still do not know which team they will resemble.
Apr 17, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Eric Thames (7) celebrates his home run with left fielder Ryan Braun (8) during the third inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Cardinals
Last rank: 17
Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are back over .500. With their starting rotation helping to lead the way, St. Louis is starting to become a contender once more. The emerence of Kolten Wong as a viable option offensively certainly helps as well, as his defense can be a difference maker.
Last rank: 16
It was the end of the world, as Eric Thames was in a slump. The opposition had finally figured him out, and he was going to return to pre-Korea levels. Well, he blasted his way out of that slump yesterday. Looks like he is making the adjustments he needed to.
Chicago White Sox
Last rank: 15
Avisail Garcia just keeps hitting. At this point, it may be more than a hot start, and the actual beginning of his becoming the player it was hoped he would be. The White Sox Triple Crown leader, the 26 year old may have finally figured everything out.
Last rank: 11
Is it time to worry about Francisco Rodriguez? He has blown two saves in less than 24 hours, and served up a walkoff bomb to Ryon Healy. Rodriguez seemed to be walking a tightrope this year, and has fallen off.
Last rank: 10
The Indians lead the Central, but that is as much due to the mediocrity of the rest of the division as it is their performance. They did get an impressive start from Mike Clevinger on Sunday, who allowed one hit in 5.2 innings, but the it comes with the Royals caveat. We’ll see what happens when he faces an actual Major League squad.
May 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (left) reacts at third next to San Francisco Giants third baseman Christian Arroyo (22) after hitting a triple during the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Last rank: 8
Want a sign of how this is a completely different Colorado Rockies team than what we’re used to? In their three games against the Diamondbacks at Coors Field, the Rockies allowed six runs. Even in their heyday, six runs was a decent game from the pitching staff. Ah, memories.
Last rank: 18
Here me out – the Reds have a better record than the Cubs, the fifth best run differential in baseball, and Billy Hamilton looks like he figured out how to play baseball. If the pitching staff can continue to be solid, why can’t the Reds timetable to compete be moved up?
Boston Red Sox
Last rank: 9
Chris Sale struck out ten or more batters for the sixth game in a row yesterday. The only other pitchers to do that more than once? Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez. Talk about impressive company.
Last rank: 5
Patrick Corbin had a solid start to the season. Then he went to Colorado, where he allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings. Is that a sign of regression, or just a bad start in Colorado? His next outing is going to be interesting to watch.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Last rank: 7
Cody Bellinger has played in 11 games, and he is already tied for the team lead with five home runs. Say what you will about Adrian Gonzalez, but unless Bellinger cools off, that elbow may be giving him some trouble.
Apr 28, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; (L to R) Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) second baseman Jose Altuve (27) shortstop Carlos Correa (1) and first baseman Marwin Gonzalez (9) prior to the game against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Last rank: 6
Zach Britton was back from the disabled list, and then he went right back on the DL with the same ailment. At least he admitted that he rushed back and tried to force his way through the injury. however, the fact that he is going to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache is an ominous sign.
Last rank: 4
Are the Cubs still dealing with a post World Series hangover? Maybe. Are their pitchers being squeezed with tight strike zones? Yes, according to Joe Maddon. Maybe, just maybe, he should worry less about robotic umpires and more about getting the Cubs back on track.
Last rank: 3
Perhaps this is the year that Jose Altuve wins the MVP award. The Astros are running away with the AL West, and their sparkplug at second leads the league in steals and has hit five homers. If Houston continues to dominate, it will be hard to vote against Altuve.
New York Yankees
Last rank: 2
The rebuild should not have happened this quickly. It was going to take some time for the Yankees young players to acclimate themselves to the Majors, and for the Evil Empire to return. Instead, that rebuild occurred in record time, with the Yankees looking like a machine once again.
Ryan Zimmerman is just not slowing down. He already has 13 homers, after hitting just 15 all of last year. Zimmerman is also only six doubles away from his total from 2016 as well. This has been quite the incredible comeback.