Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 8

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


As you scour the rankings, you may notice that the top six looks exactly as it did a week ago. Don’t worry—your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

 

I promise I’m not being lazy. That’s just how it worked out this week. This was bound to happen at some point. Early in the year, teams yo-yoed up and down, trying to forge an identity. Now that we’ve passed the quarter mark of the season, teams are starting to show their true colors and settling into where they should be. The rebuilding Padres have taken up residence in the NL West basement while slow-starting squads like the Rangers and Dodgers are finally hitting their stride.

 

There will still be movement (otherwise what would be the point of these rankings?) but now that we have a larger sample size to go on, the drastic changes we saw early in the year are probably a thing of the past. The anarchy of the early season was fun, but from now on, expect smaller, incremental tweaks instead of the free-falls and rapid ascents that made April so chaotic.

 

 

1. Houston Astros

 

Record: 30-15

 

Last Week: 1

 

The Astros aren’t exactly reeling—even after getting swept by the Indians they still hold the majors’ best record at 30-15. But recent injuries to Dallas Keuchel (neck) and Brian McCann (concussion) are a cause for concern. One player the Astros don’t need to be worried about is Lance McCullers. He’s been a ninja on the mound, delivering a masterful 0.71 ERA during his four-game unbeaten streak. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 1.

 

2. Washington Nationals

 

Record: 26-17

 

Last Week: 2

 

I went all in on Trea Turner in fantasy this year, grabbing him as early as I could wherever I could. He’s turned out to be a mild disappointment, especially in May where he’s hit just .169 with 20 strikeouts in 77 at-bats. I know I’m beating a dead horse here but if the Nats don’t upgrade their pen at or before the trade deadline (only Seattle’s bullpen has posted a worse ERA this year), I think they’ll be one-and-done in the postseason.

 

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3. New York Yankees

 

Record: 26-16

 

Last Week: 3

 

Didi Gregorius has been merciless over his last 12 games, batting .391 with nine RBI during that span. Gary Sanchez has also been getting loose for the Bombers. Three of his four homers have come over the last 10 games. The lineup continues to impress but if the Yankees plan on making a deep run in October, they’ll need another horse or two in the starting rotation. Getting Masahiro Tanaka back on the right path would be a start. The Yankees’ supposed ace carries a head-scratching 27.00 ERA over his last two starts, both losses of course.

 

4. Baltimore Orioles

 

Record: 25-18

 

Last Week: 4

 

When Zach Britton landed on the disabled list for a second time, I assumed the Orioles would be in good hands with Brad Brach pitching the ninth inning. Maybe it’s time to revisit that. Brach has melted down this month, blowing two saves with a miserable 6.75 ERA. At least Welington Castillo has done his part by hitting .330 to begin the year including .381 over his last nine games. At 15-5, the Orioles own the best home record in Major League Baseball.

 

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Record: 26-19

 

Last Week: 5

 

The Dodgers are flying high and Yasmani Grandal has been a huge part of their early success. The Yasmanian Devil has been an assassin since the calendar flipped to May, batting .393 with 14 RBI and a .607 slugging percentage. With Justin Turner (hamstring) out and interim second baseman Chris Taylor enjoying the best offensive stretch of his career (.333, 5 HR, 16 RBI), Logan Forsythe will shift to third base when he returns from the disabled list Tuesday against the Cardinals.

 

6. Colorado Rockies

 

Record: 29-17

 

Last Week: 6

 

So is 22-year-old Antonio Senzatela as good as his 6-1 record would indicate? Not by a long shot. He leads the majors in run support while his K/9 (5.67) and K/BB rates (1.89) are both underwhelming. Still, his 3.77 ERA at hitter’s paradise Coors Field is better than most. Charlie Blackmon has been a maestro at the plate, hitting a superb .438 with nine RBI and two steals over his last nine games. With Blackmon, Mark Reynolds, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado all batting .290 or better, it’s no wonder the Rockies are off to their best start in franchise history.

 

7. Cleveland Indians

 

Record: 23-20

 

Last Week: 8

 

The Indians swept Houston over the weekend and they wouldn’t have done it without the help of Mike Clevinger. The right-hander twirled a gem on Saturday, limiting the hot-hitting ‘Stros to just two hits over seven shutout frames. Lonnie Chisenhall has put his power stroke to good use by homering in four of his last eight appearances. At long last, top prospect Bradley Zimmer has finally arrived in the big leagues. He’s hit .313 since his call-up but that’s come with eight strikeouts in only 16 at-bats.

 

8. Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Record: 27-19

 

Last Week: 11

 

It was a shame to see Taijuan Walker land on the disabled list. The 24-year-old was finally starting to figure things out with a 2.67 ERA over his last five starts. David Peralta has done a little of everything for the Diamondbacks, producing a .314 average with four homers and the same number of steals. Brandon Drury has been an absolute fiend at Chase Field, hitting a ridiculous .393 at the D’Backs’ home ballpark. Unfortunately he can’t seem to hit anywhere else (.161 AVG on the road).

 

9. Chicago Cubs

 

Record: 22-21

 

Last Week: 10

 

The Cubs let Aroldis Chapman walk in free agency, preferring to address closer by trading for Royals hurler Wade Davis. So far that looks like the right call. Still fatigued from the World Series, Chapman is on the shelf with rotator cuff inflammation while Davis has yet to allow a run in 18 outings this season. Kyle Hendricks wasn’t fooling anyone early in the year, but he’s been quietly rounding into form with a miniscule 1.82 ERA over his last five starts.

 

10. Milwaukee Brewers

 

Record: 25-19

 

Last Week: 13

 

Who is this Eric Sogard maniac? Milwaukee’s bespectacled second baseman is hitting a preposterous .500 with two homers, seven RBI and two steals since his call-up on May 12. This can’t possibly be the same guy who hit .239 with eight homers during a six-year stay in Oakland. Think the Red Sox regret trading Travis Shaw? Well let’s see—Shaw has hit .356 with three homers and 11 RBI during his 11-game hitting streak while Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero have been splitting time at third base back in Boston. Yup, I’d say so.

 

11. Texas Rangers

 

Record: 24-21

 

Last Week: 17

 

After taking a beating in April, the Rangers have come roaring back to life in May. They’ve won 11 of their last 12, taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule with series against the Padres, A’s and Phillies. Contract-year ace Yu Darvish may be pitching himself out of the Rangers’ price range. He’s been lights out, compiling a brilliant 2.54 ERA during his six-game unbeaten streak. Nomar Mazara is as streaky as they come but he’s been on the upswing lately, batting .368 with 10 RBI during his 10-game hitting streak.

 

12.  St. Louis Cardinals

 

Record: 22-19

 

Last Week: 7

 

Say what you want about the Cardinals, but those dudes can pitch. The St. Louis rotation leads the majors with a 3.13 ERA and ranks third with a stingy .237 BAA. They all deserve a pat on the back, but Mike Leake has been the standout, producing an electric 2.03 ERA to go with an equally mesmerizing 0.99 WHIP. The offense has also gotten its act together, hitting .275 for the month of May. That’s sixth-best in the majors.

 

13. Boston Red Sox

 

Record: 22-21

 

Last Week: 9

 

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and Andrew Benintendi finally found it. The 22-year-old broke out of a hellish 0-for-26 skid with two hits in Friday night’s loss to Oakland. Chris Sale’s Cy Young candidacy grew stronger with another masterpiece over the weekend (7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 10 Ks). He’s now on pace for 358 strikeouts, which would be the most since Randy Johnson fanned 372 batters en route to his fourth Cy Young Award in 2001. It’s been a harrowing first two months for the Red Sox but at least they have a new rallying cry and it may or may not involve whale excrement.

 

14. Minnesota Twins

 

Record: 23-18

 

Last Week: 12

 

The wheels have started to fall off for Ervin Santana (1-2, 4.95 ERA over his last three starts) but ace-in-the-making Jose Berrios is just getting started. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts Thursday against the Rockies. He’s gone 2-0 with a spellbinding 0.59 ERA since his call-up earlier this month. While Berrios has flipped the switch, Byron Buxton continues to take his lumps. The 23-year-old has struggled to a .208 average this month, which is actually an improvement from April when he hit just .147 with 29 strikeouts in 68 at-bats. The former second overall pick is still a major work in progress.

 

15. Tampa Bay Rays

 

Record: 23-24

 

Last Week: 16

 

Welcome to Breakout City, population Corey Dickerson. The 28-year-old has taken the league by storm, hitting a ludicrous .444 with six homers and 10 ribbies during his six-game hitting streak. He’s already halfway to his career-high in homers with 115 games to go. Chris Archer has been gobbling up strikeouts like some kind of baseball Pacman. He’s punched out 10 or more in three of his last four outings, though he’s only put up a 4.26 ERA during that span.

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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