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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 6 May

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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MAY 8, 2016

Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

Rank – Team Record (Last week rank) (Up down) (W – L Record Last week)

(1) (1)  Chicago Cubs (E) (24 – 6) :  A real bad day for the Cubs is battling with a team like Washington on Sunday, to see whether or not they are going to sweep them or go 3 – 1 in a series.

Yep, they swept the 4 game set in a 13 inning walk off HR by Javier Baez – to cap a 7 – 0 week. They are on pace for about 129 wins right now.

Depth of the Starting Rotation is looking solid with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel (Killer J’s) and Kyle Hendricks.

Hector Rondon is not even needed in most leads, with the team almost at a +100 differential through 30 games,

(2) (3) Chicago White Sox (+1) (22 – 10) ( 4 – 2):  Chris Sale is 7 – 0, and may go Ron Guidry (circa 1979 on us).  If anyone will win 25 games in a year, it would be him or Jake Arrieta.

Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990 for the A’s was the last guy to do that.

Has anyone noticed that Brett Lawrie has an OBP closer to .400 – than his usual .310 – .320?

Jose Quintana is finally receiving some run support.  If Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu start hitting for BA, than look he the hell out.  We could see a “Windy City” World Series for the 1st time since 1906.

(3) (2) NY Mets (-1):  Yoenis Cespedes plays well in contract years, not a news flash there (11 HRs and 32 RBI).  ‘Under the radar’ move was Asdrubal Cabrera this past winter.

Matt Harvey has thrown better in each of the last 3 starts.  Steven Matz is battling Kenta Maeda for best rookie pitcher in the NL currently.

The only thing they could use is some relief help, and possibly a Catcher that could take the reigns in case Travis d’Arnaud can’t.

Even though they slightly trail Washington, their records over the last 20 games speak to their individual rankings.

(4) (6) Boston Red Sox (+2) (17 – 13) (3 – 3):  The Red Sox were riding high into the Bronx until they dropped the 1st 2 games of the series to the Yankees.  David Price, where have you gone?

Look at the lineups Triple Slashes, and everybody is pulling their weight or better, and Mookie Betts is just slightly under with a huge pedigree.

Christian Vazquez has been a calming influence behind the plate – despite hitting 8th and not be counted on for offense – but don’t think for one second this team won’t pull off a trade for a guy like Jonathan Lucroy – and they have the resources to do it.

Clay Buchholz has thrown better with the new backstopper as well.

(5) (4) Washington Nationals (-1) (19 – 12) (2 – 5):  Bryce Harper was walked 6 times and HBP on Sunday by the Cubs, and was issued 14 free times on base in the 4 game series.  Welcome to the land of respect and fear Mr. Harper!

More so now than ever, the rest of the lineup has to step it up.  The 2015 MVP may reach base 330 times in 2016, but 200 of those may come via the Walk.

Other teams will follow suit considering how Chicago tamed the Nats this weekend.  Washington must play good against the stiffer competition, and so far they haven’t.

Heading into Chicago – they were 5 – 1 on their 10 game road trip, and ended out 5 – 5.  They have a crucial week coming ahead – hosting the Tigers for 3, then the Marlins for 3 at Nationals Park.

Max Scherzer needs to turn it around.  Ben Revere coming back should boost their leadoff spot immensely now.

I think if the Nats and Blue Jays would get a do over, maybe they would have traded Jonathan Papelbon instead of Drew Storen.  Both guys have been lit up like a firecracker – with an accelerator fuse doused with sewage.

(6) (11)  San Francisco Giants (+5) (17 – 16):  This ranking has more to do with the competition they face in the NL West, as opposed to the Texas Rangers, whom have the Mariners actually ahead of them in the standings.

(7) (7) Texas Rangers (E):  Prince Fielder is not aging well, and is looking like Big Daddy Cecil Fielder at the end of his rope.  I hope I am wrong on that accord.

At least the rest of the lineup is really picking it up.  Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus on the cusp of batting .300, Adrian Beltre had a multi HR game this week – and has quietly reeled in 21 RBI.

Cole Hamels is a difference maker in the Division for sure.

(8) (5) Pittsburgh Pirates (-3): The Bucs took 2 out of 3 to end the week ahead of the Cardinals.  It is their dominance over the Redbirds (at 5 – 1 for the year so far), that have them ahead of a lot of clubs.

With many of the NL clubs struggling this week like the Dodgers, Nationals, Cards and D’Backs, I am giving the Bucs the benefit of the doubt here – that they are still the favorite for the 2nd Wild Card Slot.

(9) (9) Baltimore Orioles (E) (18 – 12) (4 – 2):  The O’s crushed 6 HRs on Saturday., and have now gone deep 43 times in 30 games overall.  Pedro Alvarez has shown life this past 7 days.

Manny Machado is an early season MVP candidate.  This guy might contend for a Triple Crown this year if he keeps it up.

Chris Tillman gave up 3 runs on Sunday, and then provided a quality start.

Buck Showalter should keep this club in contention all year – for a 85 – 90 win year.

(11) (13) LA Dodgers (+2) (16 – 15) (3 – 2):  Clayton Kershaw saved the week again, and Ross Stripling continues to baffle teams on the 1st efforts against them.

The Bullpen is throwing better than they did to start the year.

Yasiel Puig has receded back to numbers that he had in 2015.  Chase Utley, thankfully, is playing more like his great season in.

Howie Kendrick has not rounded into season form, and may have to keep playing utility style baseball.

(11) (14) Toronto Blue Jays (+3) (16 – 17) (4 – 3):  Ranking has far more to do with plummeting Tigers and Royals – as opposed to them being that great.  Yes they had a 4 – 3 week, but problems still persist.

Troy Tulowitzki is terrible right now, and Jose Bautista‘s BA is near the Mendoza Line.

J.A. Happ and resigning of Marco Estrada, looks a hell of a lot better than doling out that money for Price at least now.

Justin Smoak may thrive with full time duty at 1B now that Chris Colabello wont be back until August.

Drew Storen is killing them.  He and Ken Giles may be the worst “dumpster fires” as Relievers for the year, and that is saying a lot since the Reds have yielded a gazillion runs this season.

(12) (15) Seattle Mariners (+3) (18 – 13) (5 – 2):  This pitching staff has complete depth now with Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and Wade Miley backing up Felix Hernandez.

No one could have predicted this start for Robinson Cano, (.305 BA, 12 HRs and 33 RBI).  If the season ended today, he or Machado would be the AL MVP’s best candidates.

While they are not putting up a ton of runs, Kyle Seager, Seth Smith have brought the power over the last few weeks, and Ketel Marte has really jumped his BA (up to .274).

The revamped Relief Core has also performed admirably.

(13) (17) Cleveland Indians (-4) (15 – 13) (5 – 1): They are 5 games behind the White Sox already, but they are just a half game behind the #2 WC slot, and one game behind the 2nd place Wild Card placeholder.

Huge week of beating down division foes in Detroit, and burying Minnesota to the basement for the rest of the year.

(14) (8) Kansas City Royals (-6) (15 – 15) (2 – 4):  After 3 straight winning weeks to begin the campaign, they have  gone 4 – 9 in their last 13 contests.  This may be the last week they are in the top 15.

The Starting Pitching has been pretty bad other than Ian Kennedy.  You can’t use you awesome Bullpen without getting there first.

Mike Moustakas injury is a dangerous time.

Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain have to step it up in his absence to help out Eric Hosmer.

(15) (16) St. Louis Cardinals (+1) (16 – 16) (3 – 3):  This is a Jekyll and Hyde ballclub.  They absolutely pummel the weaker sisters of the league, and are 1 – 8 against the Pirates and Nats so far.

When Adam Wainwright said to a fantasy XM channel, “you are going to regret not drafting me earlier,” perhaps he was referring to his batting not pitching.

Matt Carpenter reached base 4 times on Sunday, and hopefully that spawns a streak that makes him resemble the 28 HR bat he was last season.

Aledmys Diaz is one of the better stories this year – as he was still operating at .396 at the time of this article.

(16) (18) Miami Marlins (+2) (16 – 14) ( 4 – 2):  Miami has continued its great play recently.  They did rest Giancarlo Stanton in a loss to the Phillies on Sunday, but had a winning week.

Marcell Ozuna has raised his Batting Average by 40 PTS, and Stanton keeps hitting the longball.  They are still only 4th in the Division though.  Lots of work ahead.

(17) (10)  Detroit Tigers (-6) (14 – 16) (0 – 6):  Its a horrible the way they ended the week on Sunday.  Justin Verlander had completed his best start, and then – wham.. Bullpen gave up 7 runs to Texas – and that crippled them.

J.D. Martinez is not making as awesome contact as he did in 2014 or 2015.  Justin Upton also has not seen his 2 week surge yet.

Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey are not helping the Starting Staff very much.

(18) (22)  Tampa Bay Rays (+4):  Hanging in tough for the AL East.  Chris Archer has turned it around, and Brad Miller has shown a pulse.

The club is smart enough to have benched Logan Morrison (for Steve Pearce) and used all 4 of: Corey Dickerson, Desmond Jennings, Steven Souza Jr. with Brandon Guyer, for the LF, RF and DH slots.

(19) (24) Colorado Rockies (+5) (15 – 16) (3 – 4):  Nice pitching efforts by Jon Gray, Eddie Butler and Tyler Chatwood this week.  Nolan Arenado has played lights out for the 1st 5 weeks.

Balanced offense, and decent Relief work have this team just 1 game behind the Division leaders.  It probably wont be sustainable, but it is a great start.

(20) (21) Arizona Diamondbacks (+1) (15 – 18) (3 – 3): Nice get well card with the Braves this weekend – and regressions from the Rockies and Phillies help out this weeks ranking a little bit.  They trail the Division leaders by just 2 games despite the poor start.

Paul Goldschmidt is getting pitched around hugely, and this is a reason why A.J. Pollock is missed so heavily.  It took Shelby Miller returning to Turner Field, against an anemic lineup in order to secure his 1st win of the year.

(22) (19) Philadelphia Phillies (-3) (18 – 14) (3 – 4):  It was a losing week but not bad overall.  The problem with the Phillies is their entire lineup has OBP’s of under .300 – except for Odubel Herrera – who is in the .400’s.

Once the pitching starts to struggle a little bit – they will lose a ton of games.  Jeanmar Gomez has been awesome as the Closer for the “Phightins”.

(23) (17) Oakland (-6) (14 – 18) (1 – 5):  Last team to win 1 game in May.  They are lucky the Royals, Angels, Astros, Indians and Tigers are struggling with seasons so far for this ranking.

Just got smashed by the O’s offense.  That quick start has been quickly foiled.

Sonny Gray has all of a sudden been hittable.  Jed Lowrie is underrated.  Marcus Semien has 8 HRs but is batting just over .200.

(23) (25) NY Yankees (+2) (11 – 17) (3 – 3):  New York can still move up the rankings quicker than a lot of clubs if they keep on winning games, and especially against Divisional foes.  Huge they won the weekend series versus Boston.

Injuries are starting to play a factor though.  Jacoby Ellsbury. Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are on the sick bay right now, and this team can ill afford to have any more guys with healthy concerns.

Luis Severino may on his last legs in the rotation tonight.  Ivan Nova must be effective as a spot starter right now.

(24) (24) Houston Astros (E) (12 – 20) (3 – 3):  Carlos Correa finally had himself a great week.  Jose Altuve leads the league in Extra Base Hits and Stolen Bases.  He also has led off the game with a HR 6 times already this year.

(25) (22) LA Angels (-3):  This year looks like an inevitable tire fire is coming.  Garrett Richards out for the year with Tommy John Surgery, Andrew Heaney on the TJS watch list.  Mike Trout will be wasted.

(26) (26) San Diego Padres (E) (13 – 19) (4 – 3): Don’t let the winning week fool you, this team still is being routinely shutout.

(27) (28) MIL (+1) (13 – 18) (3 – 3):  Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Aaron Hill absolutely pulverized the Reds this weekend.  Lots of games coming against the Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals.

(28) (27) CIN (-1) (13 – 19) (2 – 4):  The Relievers are destroying these games they are in late.  The Reds are now 8 – 19 since a 5 – 0 beginning.  Don’t retire Joey Votto, you will turn it around.

(29) (29)  Minnesota Twins (E) (8 – 23) (1 – 5):  Could use Torii Hunter for a pep talk.  Good that Joe Mauer is hitting better.

Other than that, Brian Dozier is hurt..Phil Hughes is awful. Luckily the Braves are in the MLB too, otherwise they would be last in the rankings

(30) (30) Atlanta Braves (E) (7 – 23) (1 – 5): Can’t win at home, cant win period.  Historically bad club with no real trade assets either.

Perhaps no teams could rise faster in the next few weeks than the AL East and AL West.  Both Chicago clubs have big leads, while the Nats and Mets should be the leaders in the NL East.  I still expect the Giants and Dodgers to separate themselves from the other clubs in the Division as well.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their other partners.***

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A big thanks goes out to our ‘Chief Writer/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.

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