Greetings, Place to Be Nation!
Glad to see that baseball’s in full swing and the 2016 season is once again full of amazement, intrigue, and all the quirks that make us baseball fans.
Here we go with the May installment of the Power Rankings. Lots of movement between April and May to be sure, so I’ve listed April’s ranking next to each team name.
All win-loss records, player and team statistics are current through Sunday, May 29.
|1||Chicago Cubs (1)||34-14||The Cubs are 18-2 in “blowout” games; that is, when the margin of victory is five runs or more. Three teams don’t even have 18 on the season yet! The Wrigley crew is just really, really good.|
|2||San Francisco Giants (7)||32-20||The investments in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have paid off well, as those two, along with ace Madison Bumgarner, are a combined 21-5 with a 2.32 ERA.|
|3||Washington Nationals (2)||30-21||Newly-extended hurler Stephen Strasburg (9-0, 2.69 ERA) is an early Cy favorite, while free-agent add Daniel Murphy (.387/.420/.597) looks like a bargain.|
|4||Boston Red Sox (14)||30-20||The offense has been so crazy-good to this point, first in the AL in at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, batting average, on-base, slugging, and total bases.|
|5||Baltimore Orioles (6)||28-20||Manny Machado may deserve to be snuck into the “Best Player in Baseball” conversations with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Twenty doubles, 13 homers to go with a 172 OPS+ and sterling defense at shortstop and third base.|
|6||Texas Rangers (8)||29-21||Nomar Mazara (.311/.358/.487) looks like a nice Rookie of the Year candidate, and budding star, while Ian Desmond (113 OPS+) has done well reestablishing his value. In other news, Yu is back. Also, Josh Hamilton’s out for the year. Water is wet. Film at 11.|
|7||Seattle Mariners (11)||28-21||During the offseason, GM Jerry DiPoto made it a priority to upgrade the M’s offense. The team is third in the AL in runs (231), second in OBP (.326), and, perhaps more surprising, considering their home ballpark, first in homers (70) and fourth in SLG (.432).|
|8||Pittsburgh Pirates (5)||28-21||The offense is still excellent, with bench bats Sean Rodriguez (160 OPS+), Matthew Joyce (190 OPS+) and Jung Ho Kang (169 OPS+) all contributing to the team’s depth. The pitching is still wobbly, but the Bucs have the means for a deal or could call up Jameson Taillon (1.79 ERA in AAA) or Tyler Glasnow (2.25).|
|9||Kansas City Royals (13)||27-22||The champs are fresh off a shocking sweep of the White Sox, but the injuries and a dubious run differential (194 scored vs. 196 allowed) shows the struggles are not over in KC.|
|10||New York Mets (4)||28-21||The offense is being propped up by a few decent bats, while Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz live up to their billing. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey continues to be the weak link.|
|11||Los Angeles Dodgers (9)||27-24||How great is Clayton Kershaw? He’s got that history-making K/BB ratio (105/5) and leads the Dodgers with 3.7 bWAR. That’s more than the next two guys (Chase Utley & Corey Seager) COMBINED!|
|12||Chicago White Sox (3)||27-24||A 17-8 April is followed by a 10-16 May thus far. Will the real Chicago White Sox of 2016 please stand up?|
|13||Cleveland Indians (16)||26-22||Josh Tomlin is 7-0, but let’s give some early Cy Young recognition to Danny Salazar (2.39 ERA, 72 K in 60 ⅓ innings). The Tribe is hanging in the AL Central and should make it interesting, especially if the offense can pick up a bit more (8th in AL with a .254 average, 7th in SLG at .411, but 4th in OBP at .321).|
|14||Toronto Blue Jays (15)||26-26||How would you best describe the Troy Tulowitzki era in Toronto? A disappointment, or a total bust? Given that his line is .204/.289/.383 and Tulo just went on the DL, I’d lean toward the latter.|
|15||St. Louis Cardinals (12)||26-25||Stephen Piscotty (323/.395/.500) is ridiculously good at baseball. The 2016 form of this team is now clear: a solid-but-unspectacular offense, solid defense, a nice bullpen, and a mediocre rotation. Should be enough to hang around the Wild Card mix all year.|
|16||Philadelphia Phillies (17)||26-24||Two questions: WTF are the Phillies doing over .500 after 50 games, and WTF is Ryan Howard still doing on this team (.154/.219/.346)?|
|17||Miami Marlins (15)||26-24||A year after his time in “jail,” Marcell Ozuna is thriving (10 homers, 165 OPS+). Giancarlo Stanton, meanwhile, is batting .214/.326/.481, well below his usual digits. Weird.|
|18||Detroit Tigers (10)||24-25||Ian Kinsler (.314/.365/.531) and Nick Castellanos (.326/353/.577) are both playing great, while the bullpen has been okay. It’s the mess of Mike Pelfrey (0-5, 4.96) and Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 6.04) really sinking this team.|
|19||Colorado Rockies (25)||23-26||The offense (3rd in NL with .272; 2nd with .447 SLG) is keeping the team competitive, but the staff ERA of 5.03 is probably going to win out and break the Rox sooner or later.|
|20||New York Yankees (23)||24-25||The bullpen monster has been a vision-to-behold, but the starting staff and lineup have both been disappointments. Also, I do not believe that “Chasen Shreve” and “Kirby Yates” are real people.|
|21||Tampa Bay Rays (18)||22-26||Too many holes in the everyday lineup are sinking this team, with four everyday players, plus three bench bats posting OPS+ under 100. That’s a lot of below-average work. The injuries to top producers Kevin Kiermaier and Logan Forsythe will only hurt the Rays’ chances of turning things around.|
|22||Arizona Diamondbacks (21)||23-29||The lineup is still pretty strong (1st in the NL in hits, 2nd in doubles, 4th in OPS). But none of the starters have an ERA under 4.00. Ouch.|
|23||Oakland A’s (22)||22-29||Danny Valencia and Rich Hill have been great finds for Oakland thus far, but this team is still not going anywhere. (Side note: Danny VALENCIA … from FLORIDA. How does he NOT have a citrus-centric nickname? Or 100 of them?)|
|24||Houston Astros (26)||22-29||The bullpen is still pretty darn solid, but the starters continue to struggle as last year’s surprise is this year’s bust.|
|25||Los Angeles Angels (24)||22-28||That Mike Trout trade chatter from the peanut gallery is only going to get louder and louder as the Angels get worse over the coming weeks (or months? or years?).|
|26||Milwaukee Brewers (28)||23-27||Ryan Braun has reestablished a lot of his value this year, with an outstanding .351/.424/.583 slash, but would any take him, given that his five-year extension has just kicked in and he’s injury-prone.|
|27||San Diego Padres (29)||20-31||Does anyone see General Manager A.J. Preller keeping his job past August 1st?|
|28||Minnesota Twins (27)||15-34||“If you gaze long enough into the statistics of the 2016 Minnesota Twins, the statistics will gaze back at you.”
— Friedrich Nietzche, or Bob Uecker, I dunno.
|29||Cincinnati Reds (20)||16-34||The Reds’ best pitcher is journeyman Dan Straily; their best hitter (by OPS+) is something called “Adam Duvall”. The shocking part of their 7-19 May is that they managed to win seven.|
|30||Atlanta Braves (30)||14-35||Well, the Braves canned Fredi Gonzalez. They’ve also taken a bath on the whole Hector Olivera fiasco. What an embarrassing team. The Braves are on a 46-win pace; the Cubs are on pace for 47 LOSSES.|
That’s it for May, everyone!
We’ll see you in June for another edition of the Rankings, but keep an eye out for more MLB-themed content coming soon to Place to Be Nation!