Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
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Injuries and some truly bad performances played havoc with the MLB standings this past week. How did that affect the power rankings after Week Three?
Generally, heading into the MLB season, it is fairly easy to see who the top teams are going to be. Likewise, it is easy to determine which teams are going to be playing for that top draft pick, looking forward to a rebuilding season and dreams of contention in the coming years. At least, that is typically how it is when heading into a new season.
This year, some of those suppositions have been turned upside down. The Blue Jays, who were expected to contend for the postseason yet again, have the worst record in the game. The Cubs and Indians have scuffled for the first three weeks of the season, posting identical records and sporting the same run differential. The Giants have the worst record in the National League, and have lost ace Madison Bumgarner for six to eight weeks after a dirt bike accident.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks have the two of the three best records in the NL. Even more surprising is that the Rockies have actually pitched their way to the top. Even the Padres, who were expected to be a 100 loss team, have managed to hover within a few games of .500.
So what does it all mean for this week’s installment of the MLB Power Rankings? Let’s take a look through and see where your favorite team is ranked heading into Week Four of the season.
Not only have the Blue Jays been scuffling to start the season, but they are now starting Troy Tulowitzki‘s annual stint on the disabled list. With the worst record in the game, and the second worst run differential in the American League, it could be a long summer in Toronto.
San Diego Padres
Last rank: 30
The Padres may have the worst run differential in the MLB at -29, but they are only three games under .500. Although they may not stay around .500 for the entire season, this decent start bodes well for the future. Just imagine if they had a Major League caliber starting pitcher.
Kansas City Royals
Last rank: 19
The Royals have gone seven consecutive games without scoring more than two runs, tying a team record for offensive futility. Sunday’s lineup literally looked as though Ned Yost pulled names out of a hat in hopes it would work. Well, at least they scored twice.
Los Angeles Angels
Last rank: 27
Normally, Garrett Richards being transferred to the 60 day disabled list would be the fork in the Angels season. However, they were cooked before that, as their top three relievers are all injured. Good luck with Bud Norris as the closer.
Last rank: 25
The Braves had been at .500 twelve games into the season. After a six game losing streak, the only real difference between this year’s team and last year’s is the level of experience on the pitching staff. At least Braves fans can watch Bartolo Colon every five games.
The San Francisco Giants were already in trouble before Madison Bumgarner went on the disabled list following an accident on his dirtbike. At least he didn’t go all Jeff Kent and claim he was washing his truck. As Bumgarner is one of the biggest bargains in the game, San Fran better let this go.
Last rank: 15
Remember how Leonys Martin was going to be a part of the Mariners outfield rebuild? He was an athletic player with some power and speed, the potential poster child for what Seattle wanted. So much for that, as he was designated for assignment yesterday after an atrocious start to the 2017 campaign.
Last rank: 26
Don’t look now, but the Reds are still over .500, and have the third best run differential in MLB right now. Even though they are still using a bullpen by committee, at least nominally, Raisel Iglesias has been solid in the closer role. And 40 year old Bronson Arroyo actually won his last two starts, including a seven strikeout performance yesterday.
Chicago White Sox
Last rank: 24
Avisail Garcia has been a force this season for the White Sox. Yet, for as impressive as he has been, it may be time to start worrying about Jose Abreu. He is off to another slow start, with a slugging percentage below his body weight. Perhaps he will turn it on in the second half again, but these slow starts are getting worrisome.
Last rank: 23
Three weeks in, and Eric Thames is still hitting baseballs back to Korea. Naturally, this has caused a few whispers about PED usage, because MLB cannot have nice things. At any rate, the fan favorite made further headway by saying that he wanted to go to Milwaukee because of the beer there. That’s my type of player!
After a dreadful start to the season, Kolten Wong is starting to look like the player the Cardinals signed to a long term deal. In his past six games, he has a .269/.333/.579 batting line with three extra base hits and a steal. With Jhonny Peralta on the DL, the knowledge that he will play seems to have taken a weight off his shoulders, and his bat.
Last rank: 29
The biggest victory for the A’s happened off the field. Although they do not have a location just yet, the A’s announced that they will be staying in Oakland, and will build a new stadium. One of the most traveled teams in MLB history will be staying put.
Last rank: 28
The annual Clay Buchholz DL trip has happened, as he will be out for four to six months with a forearm injury. At this point in his career, one has to wonder if he wears a ski mask and carries a gun when he collects his paycheck.
Last rank: 16
The Pirates were already having a disappointing season when Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games for PED usage. Now that he is out of the lineup for the next three months, the Pirates chances of returning to the postseason appear to be slim indeed.
Last rank: 20
The Rangers have won four games in a row, albeit against the Royals. The biggest news from the weekend involved the performance of Yu Darvish, who allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in eight innings yesterday. That marked the first time he had pitched eight innings in two years, and is a great sign in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Are the Twins starting to fall back to Earth? After a promising start to the season, they have lost seven of their last ten games. If they are about to fade back to the pack, the performance of Ervin Santana thus far could result in a significant return at the trade deadline.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last rank: 17
The Rays take a lot of heat about their sparse crowds at Tropicana Field. This past week, those few fans helped give Tampa Bay a victory, as the Tigers twice let a fly ball drop because a fan called for it. Maybe having few fans in the Trop isn’t so bad after all.
New York Mets
Last rank: 5
Heading into Sunday night’s contest against the nationals, the Mets had won only one of their last eight games. Meanwhile, Jay Bruce, who the Mets could not give away, has been their best hitter this year. Their offensive struggles could have been much worse had he been sent elsewhere.
Last rank: 8
Wei-Yin Chen is pitching through a partially torn UCL, but one would not know it with his performance last time out. However, that elbow issue likely explains why he was pulled after seven no hit innings, perhaps as much as his 100 pitches through that point led to the hook.
Last rank: 11
James McCann leads the Tigers with four home runs this year. McCann also has a total of six hits all season. While the power is great, how long can the Tigers continue to send McCann to the plate, given his overall .150/.286/.450 batting line?
The Indians are hitting the ball, but they cannot keep the opposition from scoring. Trevor Bauer has regressed, posting a 6.35 ERA. Even Corey Kluber has been susceptible to allowing runs, with a 4.28 ERA and five homers allowed in 27.1 innings. Eventually, this will change, but it is still troubling.
Last rank: 13
Here we are, three weeks into the season, and the Arizona Diamondbacks still lead the National League West. Although we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, they have the second best run differential in the MLB at +26. Could Dave Stewart‘s imagined franchise be viable after all?
Last rank: 14
It was an interesting weekend for the Orioles and Manny Machado. After his takeout slide on Dustin Pedroia on Friday, Matt Barnes buzzed a fastball near Machado’s head yesterday. While Barnes said it was an accident, this will add some fuel to the rivalry and will not be forgotten.
Last rank: 9
A shutout at Coors Field? That is how good the Rockies pitching staff has been lately, where Kyle Freeland and two relievers combined to blank the Giants on Sunday. As the Rockies pitching staff continues to perform well, we may have to start believing what we are seeing.
New York Yankees
Last rank: 12
So it turns out that Aaron Judge may not be Joey Gallo after all. He has hit some truly impressive bombs in his young career, but he has also improved his contact. In the past seven days, Judge has three home runs in 24 at bats, and just six strikeouts. If he can keep making solid contact, he could be a star in the making.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox
Last rank: 4
Andrew Benintendi found his way into the Red Sox history books yesterday, as his 5-5 performance made him the youngest player since the legendary Tony Conigliaro to get five hits in a game. He was also the quickest to do so since Johnny Pesky. That is some pretty fair company in Red Sox lore.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Last rank: 1
Is it time for the Dodgers to be concerned about Kenta Maeda? He struggled in the second half of 2016, and those issues have continued thus far in 2017. While they may say that he just needs to work through a few issues, Maeda’s 8.05 ERA and seven homers in 19 innings are certainly worrisome.
Last rank: 2
At some point, the Cubs will find their way. It is just an early season World Series hangover. They are too talented to remain around .500. While all these talking points make sense, at what point during the season do the Cubs start to be concerned by their performance?
Last rank: 6
The National League leaders, the Nationals have been on fire lately. Winners of seven consecutive games, Washington has overcome their bullpen issues with a white hot offense. Perhaps the biggest surprise has been Ryan Zimmerman, whose revamped swing is bringing back memories of his Silver Slugger years.
After constant attempts to acquire Jose Quintana to add another ace to the staff, the Astros may have already had one in Lance McCullers. He leads the team with 31 strikeouts, and Houston has not lost any of his starts this season. If he continues to perform this well, we may be looking at a World Series caliber team.