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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 7 – May

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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MAY 15, 2016

Well not much has changed from this week as compared to last week.  Detroit carried its free fall to 4th in the AL Central, the Yankees took 5 of 7 contests – and 7/10 in their homestand to save their season for now.

Miami and Philadelphia continue to stick around in the NL East, and the Giants and Dodgers finally had winning weeks to make the NL West Division Leader respectable.

Nobody looks scarier right now than the Boston Red Sox offense, who led by David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley JR. and Xander Bogaerts, plated 10 runs or more in 5 of the last 6 games, after going their 1st 32 games without doing so.

I am still awaiting for a Jays big winning streak.  Houston has not played winning baseball since the 1st 6 weeks of the 2015 – and are tending to resemble the 2007 Tampa Bay Rays more than anything.

All offense and little pitching and defense.

There is nobody struggling worse than Logan Morrison, Russell Martin, Carlos Gomez and the consortium of LF’s in Anaheim! Recently bouncing out of this list are Jason Heyward and Chase Headley.

We are nearing the quarter pole and rapidly approaching Memorial Day Weekend, so it is not early anymore.

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.

These rankings were done before the ESPN SUNDAY NIGHT GAME was played.

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

(1) (1)  Chicago Cubs (E) (27 – 9) (3 – 3) :  It seems every game the Starters are carrying a no-hitter, shutout or some significant cool mark late in the games.  Jason Heyward and Addison Russell catching fire.

Right now they are on pace to win 120 games, and hold a 8 game lead on the Pirates for 2nd in the NL Central.  They are running away with this thing extremely fast.

Preservation might be a good ploy by Joe Maddon for guys like Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester – so they don’t wear out by year’s end.

There is no need to chase historical victory totals, as the Cubs fans will settle for a World Series.

(2) (2) Chicago White Sox (E) (24 – 14) ( 2 – 4):  Jose Quintana has 8 starts of 2 runs or less, and Chris Sale has 7 – and is 8 – 0.

Todd Frazier is hitting homers with regularity now, and leads the American League in jacks.

Still have a 5 game lead on everyone else in the AL Central, with them being the only team above .500 at weeks end.

(5) (3) Washington Nationals (+2) (23 – 15) (4 – 3): I said it last week, Bryce Harper will walk over 200 times this season. Good to see that Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth had better production this week.

Moving Daniel Murphy and his MLB leading .400 BA right behind the MVP is a good maneuver.  Anthony Rendon is starting to find a groove as well.

The Starting Pitching is looking even better than the Mets so far.  If there is a weak spot, it is the late inning Relief Core.  They have coughed up several victories – much to the chagrin of Dusty Baker
.

(4) (4) Boston Red Sox (E) (24 – 14) (7 – 1): David Ortiz is unreal, and leading the Majors in XBH with 11 HRs and 16 doubles.  This club has scored 10 runs or more in 5 of the last 6 games.  The offense is godly.

Boston has a good Bullpen, so if they get any resemblance of Starting Pitching, they are going to win their fair share games.  Not many teams have a #9 hitter – hitting well over .300 – with 30 RBI.

Lineup is so deep, and they are almost batting .300 as a team.

(5) (3) NY Mets (-2) (21 – 16) (2 – 4): Forgive these guys being swept in Denver, that is always a different animal. In a close race with the Nats, I am giving the Washington club the narrowest of rankings leads on the board.

In the end, a 1.5 Games lead, combined with a 4 – 3 week, as opposed to a 2 – 4 week settled it.  Good thing they meet next weekend.

Troubling news that 3 of their top 4 Pitchers all have health related issues – and Zack Wheeler will still need to replace ‘living folk legend’ Bartolo Colon.

(6) (6) SF Giants (E) (22 – 18) (5 – 1): The top 3 of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija may well lug close to 700 Innings this season.  They will need to with how shaky Santiago Casilla has been this year.

I sincerely think they should give Tim Lincecum a nice one year contract as an option to do some late inning work.  Where is Brian Wilson?

They just ate up the D’Backs this weekend, and had to have their spirits buoyed by nice starts by Jake Peavy and Matt Cain at Chase Field.

(7) (7) Texas Rangers (E) (22 – 16) (4 – 2): Rougned Odor wins the best hit of the year with his smash of Jose Bautista jaw after the hard slide in.

These Rangers are a gutsy crew led by diligent veterans.  Ian Desmond is really proving his worth after a horrible start.

Colby Lewis at least goes past 6 innings in every game.  This is a non descript club – who is playing well within their Division.

(8) (9) Baltimore Orioles (+1) (23 – 13) (5 – 1):  Surprise. Surprise.  They have an MLB leading 55 HRs through 36 games – and it is not even summer heat yet.

Manny Machado might be a Triple Crown Threat.  Adam Jones is coming around after that oblique injury slowed him down.

They have a strong bench – which is very clutch when you have some injury prone players like Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy.

If you believe (like I do), that the O’s will at least go .500 for the rest of the season, that would put them at 86 wins to end the campaign right now.  That may be enough to win a Wild Card.

Chris Tillman looks fantastic.  The rest of the guys are hit and miss out of the rotation.

(9) (11) LA Dodgers (+2) (20 – 17) (4 – 2):   Corey Seager is making strides to get back into the NL Rookie Of The Year race.  Clayton Kershaw is automatic win night, and is clutch when the team needs to win.

Can we stop talking about a new “Yasiel Puig“.  This guy is a shell of the force he was in his first year with the team.  Maybe they should let him run wild again!

(10) (8) Pittsburgh Pirates (-2) (19 – 17) (3 – 4):  Tough sledding for the Bucs in their weekend series with the Cubs.  Jung-ho Kang is looking great since his return from injury.

It was awesome how Francisco Cervelli wharfed into the 2014 version of Russell Martin, while that guy is struggling to hit in Toronto.

While lots of people are asking for the callups of Jamieson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow, yet I am not of that mindset.  I actually think they should do nothing until June.

The NL Central is as good as gone already with Chicago, and it pointless to waste service time – just to play in the Wild Card game.  2017 might actually be the win at all costs year.

You can bring all hands on deck to begin next season.

(11) (12) Seattle Mariners (+1) (21 – 16) (3 – 3): This team needs to learn how to win at home if they are going to contend for the Division crown.  Felix Hernandez gets robbed of another win today with the club being shut out.

Kyle Seager leads the Majors in Extra Base Hits this month, and I have to admit that Ketel Marte has exceeded expectations thus far.

The M’s are a prime candidate to acquire a big bat that can play OF down the stretch this season.  Would love to see them get in on Jay Bruce or workout a deal for a Josh Reddick style of player.

(12) (11) Toronto Blue Jays (-1) (19 – 20) (3 – 4):  As bad as it was on Sunday, maybe Jose Bautista‘s shenanigans can wake up the offense for good.  It looked like a breakout game for the squad too.

Troy Tulowitzki is contributing.  They should continue to thrive in the lineup, and I expect a winning streak to follow at some point here.

Edwin Encarnacion has sick numbers for his career in May and June, so start playing him in fantasy..  The pending return of Devon Travis should help boost the 1 – 9 slots as well.

Maybe the Astros are the only team to have had a tougher schedule to begin the 2016 campaign.  It is substantially lighter coming forth with 3 games vs TB, 6 vs NYY and 4 versus the Twins over the next few weeks.

(13) (14) Kansas City Royals (+1) (18 – 19) (3 – 4): KC has to get its act together here with the Red Sox coming to town.  After that, there are several series vs the White Sox, Twins and Indians in their immediate future.

I expect them to rebound in the next four to six weeks.  As long as this team can remain within earshot of the White Sox I think they will come back.

The great news is the parity ridden AL as of right now.  Things will change if the Blue Jays jump up to join the fray with the Sox and O’s in the AL East.

(14) (15) St. Louis Cardinals (+1) (19 – 18) (3 – 2): Might we hit Aledmys Diaz and his near .400 BA higher than 9th please?  I just can’t figure out this team at all.  One of the worst DFS plays everyday too.

Yadier Molina has had a great first quarter – which has to be a relief.  Matt Holliday is healthy, as is Adam Wainwright.  I am still thinking they will improve more as the season goes on.

(15) (16) Miami Marlins (+1) (20 – 17) ( 4 – 3):  Has anyone noticed that Martin Prado is hitting around .374 – and Christian Yelich has seen his plate discipline rise, along with his OBP and BA.

The Fish are even starting to turn lose on Jose Fernandez, as he threw 7 Innings today.  Derek Dietrich is making people not miss Dee Gordon so much.

J.T. Realmuto is the real deal.  This club doesn’t have too many weaknesses – and a solid roster of hard relief throwers too.

(16) (13) Cleveland Indians (-3) (17 – 17) (2 – 4):  Bad break with Michael Brantley going back on the DL for a couple of weeks.  Trevor Bauer has looked decent out of the rotation so far.

As previously stated, I am of the belief that this team does not have enough in the lineup.  Corey Kluber has to stay away from the bad inning.

I would like to see them give Tyler Naquin more of a shot.  Lets see what he can do.

(17) (19) Colorado Rockies (+2) (19 – 18) (4 – 2): A fighting chance in the Division, and a team that has a streaky offense. The bench is vastly improved this year with Ryan Raburn, Ben Paulsen. and soon they will see Jose Reyes (or not).

Jon Gray and Eddie Butler are faring great away from Coors, and Tyler Chatwood is throwing great everywhere.  Carlos Gonzalez is starting to heat up.  They could easily collapse – and fall to the bottom 7 in the standings.

(18) (23) NY Yankees (+5) (16 – 20) (5 – 2): The Big “3” Relief Core guys are about to set the club right.  Joe Girardi should use his little notebook to create runs no matter how he can.

Went 7 – 3 on their 10 game homestand over the Red Sox, Royals and White Sox.  Not exactly pushovers.

Use Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to create runs.  Do not keep your starters in for a 3rd trip around the order like CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.

Chase Headley with a promising 2 HRs and 2 Doubles over the weekend – after going the whole year without an XBH to that point.  Defense and small ball should get this club back in to the mix.

(19) (17)  Detroit Tigers (-2) (16 – 21) (2 – 5): If there were any time that this club could use one of those Justin Upton 10 HRs in a month deals, it is now.

The Relief Core is doing them in once again – as has been the franchise albatross for the last half-dozen years.  You have to be encouraged by Justin Verlander‘s last two starts.

It is depressing to see them waste such great offensive starts for Nick Castellanos, Victor Martinez, and heck – even Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Mike Pelfrey may go down as the worst FA signing this past winter.  That was money they could have used to shore up another reliever.

Cameron Maybin‘s return is actually a nice anticipated change forthcoming soon here.

(20) (22) Tampa Bay Rays (+2) (16 – 19) (3 – 3): We said it many of times here:  They are being killed by the longball.  Drew Smyly and Matt Moore are striking out a lot of guys, but then giving up ill advised homers.

Chris Archer has figured it out.  Brad Boxberger should help and ailing Bullpen too.  Logan Morrison is finished folks.  Bench him.  Release him.

It is too bad they are wasting all of the power they have created.  This team has pounded out 50 HRs already.

(21) (22) Philadelphia Phillies (+1) (22 – 16) (4 – 2): Defying every sabermetrics head out there to be where they are.  Pete Mackinin is the manager of the year in the MLB thus far.  Holding their own in pitching – and getting timely hits.

I can’t see them keeping this up, but the future is so bright for these guys.  Their last few trades have solidified a Pitching Staff for years.

(22) (20) Arizona Diamondbacks (-2) (17 – 23) (2 – 5):  Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke can’t pitch well at home – and where is Paul Goldschmidt.

If you take out an injured David Peralta, and last year’s A.J., Pollock away from the lineup, couple with the trade of Ender Inciarte and you can see why they are not as productive.

Not playing well against their own Division at Chase Field does not bode well either.  They can’t beat the Rockies or Giants at home.

(23) (25) LA Angels (+2) (16 – 21) (3 – 3): Who would have thought they could have weathered such devastating news of losing Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney – by sweeping the AL West leaders in the M’s this weekend.

Albert Pujols is struggling – but he has a knack for a crushing HR when it counts, like last night – turning a 7 – 6 deficit on a 6 – 2 blown lead, into a 9 – 7 lead – with a 3 run blast in late in the game.

(24) (24) Houston Astros (E) (15 – 24) (3 – 4):  Got into just an incredible slugfest with the Boston Red Sox this weekend and held their own. 

Jose Altuve is the best little big man on the planet.  He is on pace for well over 225 hits, and over 100 Extra Base Hits.  Oh yeah, about 60 Steals too.

George Springer and Carlos Correa are coming around.  Club still goes nowhere until Starting Pitching kicks it into gear

Maybe you shouldn’t have let Chris Carter walk for a few million last winter.

Then again, they did not think that Evan Gattis would be a non-factor due to injury, and that Carlos Gomez was going to wharf into his New York Met days production,

(25) (26) San Diego Padres (+1) (17 – 22) (4 – 3): Melvin Upton JR. may go 20/20 on us, and Matt Kemp and Wil Myers are swinging out of their shoes.  How about drawing a walk fella’s?

Fernando Rodney is the Bret Saberhagen of Closers, good year/bad year/good year/bad year.  Right now he is slinging arrows.

Pod Squad has won 8 of 14 games, and is within striking distance of NL West lead for now.

(26) (23) Oakland (-3) (16 – 22) (2 – 4): Holy cow can Danny Valencia crush Lefties. How about giving this guy a full shot against everyone.  Cracked 5 HRs over the weekend.

Can we get an APB out for Sonny Gray

That may be the last time that Billy Beane keeps a young pitcher like that.  Look for him to sign the likes of Rich Hill all the time, and trade organizational pitcher for hitting like he did in the last Division reign.

(27) (27) Milwaukee Brewers (E) (16 – 22) (3 – 4): Ryan Braun is hurt again, which is going to hurt the trade value for his services.  At least they could maybe still trade Chris Carter, Jonathan Lucroy and Aaron Hill.

(28) (28) Cincinnati Reds (E) (15 – 22) (2 – 4):  Please play all of the young players you can – including Billy Hamilton against everyone.  If you are going to lose, lose right.

(29) (29)  Minnesota Twins (E) (10 – 26) (2 – 3):  Crappy season is foiling the nice 9 HR start by Byung-ho Park.

(30) (30) Atlanta Braves (E) (9 – 27) (2 – 4): 2 – 17 at home, yikes!!

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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About hunterstokes21

I Played NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in the 90's with Sid Bream's kid Sheldon. Once Hit a Home Run by hitting a hot air balloon that was coming over 2nd base (It was agreed that if a balloon was hit before game by the umpires and coaches - even though they were setting up in LF/CF Bleachers). I believe in the "Church Of Baseball". Come in for worship anytime.

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