Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Now that we are entering week three, let us take a look at the MLB power rankings for this week.
Welcome to the third installment of the MLB Power Rankings for this year.
We are now through two weeks of the season, and while it is still early, there are a few trends. The Toronto Blue Jays have been miserable to start the season, while the Cincinnati Reds have been one of the biggest surprises thus far. We have seen the Chicago Cubs struggle to find their dominant form from last year, and seen the flu do its best to take out the Boston Red Sox.
There have been a few interesting performances from players as well. Marcus Thames has hit as though he was still in Korea, showing that the Brewers were justified in their three year contract. Jose Reyes, meanwhile, has struggled enough where the Mets were jokingly thinking about asking the FBI for help in locating their third baseman. Or, was Terry Collins joking?
Although it is still early, these trends have become more than a hot o cold week. It may not be time to push the panic button just yet, but it is time to start showing a bit of concern. As such, the events of the past couple of weeks have had an impact upon the MLB power rankings this week, as 2016 is put further into the rearview mirror.
Let us take a look back at the past week, and delve into this week’s edition of the power rankings.
The Padres are playing much better than anyone expected thus far. They are still going to struggle at times, but with players like Wil Myers, Manny Margot, and Hunter Renfroe, they may be better than we expected. Another solid week, and the Padres may climb out of the basement.
Last week: 2-3 record Last rank: 25
The A’s previous run of success was built around their excellent starting pitching, and it looks as though Oakland has found a building block for the rotation in Jharel Cotton. Armed with the rare screwball and one of the best changeups in the game, he could be that ace they need to get back to contention.
Last week: 1-5 record Last rank: 18
Let the closer carousel begin! To the surprise of no one, Jeanmar Gomez was deposed. The surprise was that Joaquin Benoit has taken over the role. That stay may not be for long however, with the Phillies having other options. This could be a revolving door all year.
Los Angeles Angels
Last week: 1-5 record Last rank: 22
Let’s talk about something off the field here. Former Twins and Angels legend Rod Carew is doing better, having received a heart and kidney transplant in December. Recently, it was learned the organs came from former Ravens TE Konrad Reuland. Although Reuland was taken away too soon, he still lives on in the baseball legend.
Last week: 4-3 record Last rank: 27
The Reds have been one of the great stories of the season, with an 8-5 record to start the season. However, with 3/5 of their Opening Day rotation on the disabled list, the Reds have their work cut out to stay there.
Yes, SunTrust Park is likely a beautiful venue. However, for as nice as the ballpark is, the biggest draw may be their beer garden. After all, who wouldn’t want to try Chopsecutioner, the beer brewed with pieces of baseball bats?
Chicago White Sox
Last week: 4-2 record Last rank: 26
While the All Garcia outfield from the other day was fun, let us give some love to Matt Davidson. Thus far, he leads the team with three homers and ten RBI, while producing a .370/.379/.815 batting line. He won’t keep that pace for the season, but he may finally be tapping into his potential.
Last week: 5-1 record Last rank: 29
Yes, it is just two weeks, but Eric Thames has not missed a beat thus far. After destroying the KBO, he has hammered MLB pitching with the same ease. His breakout performance over the past weekend, with five homers against the Reds, was truly remarkable.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last week: 1-5 record Last rank: 9
It’s one thing to have a bad start to the season. It’s another when a team appears to be playing in a daze through the first two weeks. Right now, the Blue Jays are a disaster, and it is unclear as to what is going wrong. Do they miss Edwin Encarnacion’s bat in the lineup that much?
St. Louis Cardinals
Last week: 1-4 record Last rank: 12
Watch out – Carlos Martinez just threw another ball into the next zip code! Eight walks and an errant throw on Saturday led to his downfall, as the wheels are starting to come off of the Cardinals. Could they be looking to rebuild in the next couple of months?
The volatile nature of closers can be summed up by Sam Dyson. A year after saving the Rangers bullpen after Shawn Tolleson melted down, he has become napalm on the mound. With a 27.00 ERA and a 4.38 WHiP to go along with three blown saves, he may not be long for the job.
Kansas City Royals
Last week: 4-2 record Last rank: 23
Jason Vargas looks healthy once again. A free agent after the season, he has gotten off to a hot start, allowing just one run and 12 baserunners in 13.1 innings of work. If he can continue to pitch well, he could be quite the trade chip if the Royals fall out of contention.
Last week: 2-4 record Last rank: 24
The Twins have fallen back to Earth a bit in the past week, but there are still plenty of reasons for optimism. They are tied with the Dodgers at +23, the best run differential in the game. However, they need to figure out what to do with Byron Buxton, who has 23 strikeouts in 43 at bats.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last week: 1-5 record Last rank: 14
In exciting news, one of the Rays top prospects, Brent Honeywell, has been called up to AAA. After striking out 20 batters in 13 innings at AA, he has nothing left to prove at that level. If he dominates at Durham, he could be the first prospect to get the call this summer.
Last week: 3-4 record Last rank: 11
The fact that the Pirates are at .500 despite Tyler Galsnow’s struggles is somewhat remarkable. He has lost all semblance of command, with seven walks in 6.2 innings. He has allowed 17 baserunners and 11 runs in that time, leaving one to wonder how long he will remain in the Majors.
Jerry DiPoto remade the Seattle Mariners in his image, and he cannot like what he is seeing at this point. The paper champions of the offseason have fallen flat, posting the same record thus far as the obviously rebuilding Padres. It’s been that bad.
Last week: 4-2 record Last rank: 20
Owners of the best record in baseball, the Orioles still have reason for concern. Zach Britton was just placed on the disabled list with a forearm strain, and while the team does not think it’s serious, it bears watching. However, if Trey Mancini can keep hitting at this rate, it may not matter
Last week: 2-4 record Last rank: 21
The Zack Greinke Experience in the desert continues to be a disaster. Through three starts, he has a 4.33 ERA and a 1.44 WHiP. It is clear that he is uncomfortable in Arizona, but given his contract, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where the Diamondbacks can ship him elsewhere.
New York Yankees
Last week: 5-0 record Last rank: 19
For all of the concerns about the Yankees pitching staff, the results have been solid. They rank fifth in the game with a 3.13 ERA and third with a 1.11 WHiP. Once Masahiro Tanaka gets himself on track, the Yankees could become a legitimate contender for the MLB postseason.
Last week: 5-2 record Last rank: 15
Miguel Cabrera has struggled thus far in 2017, posting a .220/.347/.390 batting line with just three extra base hits. His spat with Terry Francona after an inside pitch from Trevor Bauer may be exactly what he needed to get back on track. We’ll see if he ends up on a hot streak this week.
After the bullpen was a sore spot last year, the Giants brought in Mark Melancon to solve those issues. Thus far, he has been even worse, with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.91 WHiP. His perfect inning yesterday against Colorado, where he struck out two, is a good sign. he has time to turn the season around, but his performance still has to be concerning for the Giants.
Last week: 4-3 record Last rank: 16
Don’t look now, but the Rockies have a pitching staff! The fact that they rank 15th in the MLB in ERA is a story in its own right, but they are also sixth with a 1.20 WHiP. The biggest key to the turnaround has been a much improved bullpen, with Greg Holland looking like his dominant self. It may actually be possible to pitch for Colorado.
Last week: 4-2 record Last rank: 17
Marcell Ozuna had quite a week. Not only did he have at least one hit in each game, but he also had four homers and 12 RBI. Ozuna had what could be considered a breakout performance last season, but it may have only been the beginning.
Last week: 2-4 record Last rank: 5
Matchups against the White Sox and the Tigers were supposed to get the Indians back on track. Instead, they currently sit at the bottom of the American League Central. The problem has been with the pitching staff, as they rank dead last with a 5.47 ERA. Maybe they needed another arm more than they needed Edwin Encarnacion.
Last week: 4-2 record Last rank: 7
At this point, it appears as though Bryce Harper is back to his 2015 form. With his two home run performance yesterday, including a walkoff shot, he now has a .333/.455/.644 batting line with four homers and 13 RBI. His ascent to superstardom is back on track.
The Mets started the year 2-3, then went on a five game winning streak. This marked the fourth time in team history that this has happened; in the previous three instances, they made the postseason. If they can overcome their pitching injuries, the Mets might make it four for four.
Boston Red Sox
Last week: 4-3 record Last rank: 2
In non-flu/clubhouse fumigation news, Joe Kelly has won 14 consecutive decisions. Wonder how many people realized that? However, his one strikeout in eight relief innings is not a good sign that he will extend this streak.
Last week: 4-1 record Last rank: 6
It may be early, but the Astros are the only team in the National League West that is over .500. As George Springer continues to belt home runs, and the offense looks as though it has greatly improved over last year, they may not relinquish the lead in the division.
Last week: 2-4 record Last rank: 1
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the Cubs thus far. Normally, a .500 start would not be reason to take a closer look, but the Cubs appeared ready to become a dynasty. Perhaps it is just a postseason hangover, and something they will snap out of in the next few weeks.
Another year, another Rich Hill blister issue. At this point, we should be more surprised when he isn’t sidelined by that troublesome middle finger. Nonetheless, the Dodgers have the best run differential in the league, and appear poised to take over in the National League West.