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Your Monday Afternoon Power Rankings

Apr 19, 2010, 3:43 PM EDT

Youkilis throwing bat.jpg1. Yankees: The only critical thing I can say is that for the past few years the Yankees have gotten off to slow starts and everyone with half a brain has said “don’t panic, it’s early.” I suppose that’s a two-way street and that we shouldn’t become overly optimistic before the break of May. But really: does anyone think that this Yankees team is as likely to crater as last year’s team was to rebound? I don’t. 

2. Rays: Lost in all of the Boston navel-gazing is the fact that the Rays are a pretty awesome team.

3. Twins: Second best in runs scored per game in the A.L., second best in runs allowed per game in the A.L.

4. Giants:  With Zito and Sanchez pitching like they have the rotation has gone from really good to phenomenal. And while I don’t think the offense is going to hold up, right now they’re third in the NL in runs scored. With their pitching, anywhere in the top 10 will keep them in it all season.

5. Phillies:  The recent mini-skid drops them down a couple of notches, but taking care of the Braves in the next three games would easily restore their early-season luster. 

6. Cardinals:
For all the ink that was spilled over Saturday’s game, it was only one game and I assume everyone in Cardinals Nation is pretending it simply didn’t happen. More germane: the fact that the team directly behind St. Louis in the Central is a pretender, and the no one else below them looks particularly good.

7. Athletics: I feel like I’m sleeping on the Athletics having them this low, what with their rotation and everything. I suppose I’m just flashing back to last season, however, when every time I looked up Gio Gonzalez was getting creamed or something. But you know what? Throw a bunch of young arms at the wall and a few are going to stick. Braden, Gonzalez and Anderson have stuck, Sheets and Duchscherer are providing some special veteran seasoning and this A’s team boasts some pitching you just don’t want any part of.  We’ll know soon whether I’m truly underestimating them: the Yankees come into town for three starting tomorrow.

8. Marlins: Two of three from the Phillies is nice indeed. The Phillies were quoted yesterday saying that they truly view Florida as a contender. If the past few years have taught us anything it’s that we discount Florida at our peril. My thing, though, is that you’re not going to go far in life betting on things like Nate Robertson being a pillar of your rotation, and I don’t think that anyone can ride Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla to glory.  We’ll see, but I still think that this team does the slow fade thing over the course of the season.

9. Braves: They survived the west coast swing, which usually kills them, they absorbed an utter shellacking by San Diego and a no-hitter from Ubaldo Jiminez, and at the moment their offense consists of three guys, one of whom is 20 years-old and is bound to slump eventually. The fact, then, that they’re only a game back is practically a miracle. The Phillies series is bigger for the Braves than it is for Philadelphia.
10. Tigers: You don’t lose two of three to the Royals and keep your lofty ranking.

11. Blue Jays: Losers of four of five and, in my mind at least, a
little less than halfway towards finding their true level. At least
insofar as the Power Rankings are concerned.

12. Rockies: The no-hitter from Ubaldo Jiminez was nice, but
having their closer back would be nicer. Or at least having their
current closer not walk so many damn guys.

13. Padres:
Three wins in a row for the Padres, courtesy of the Diamondbacks’ awful
bullpen. But you know what’s cooler than that? The
Padres are now giving away free programs at all home games
. I find
that very cool for some reason.

14. Dodgers: The play of
the year happened over the weekend: no, not Manny’s pinch-hit homer, but
Ned Colletti designating Russ Ortiz for assignment.

: Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana’s excellent outings over the
weekend are a nice couple of steps on the journey back towards the top
of the pitching rankings, which is where this team needs to be in order
to do what’s expected of them.

16. Pirates: A very
deceiving 7-5, as they have been outscored by 22 runs this season, which
is the second worst in the NL.  Don’t get used to them being in second
place in the Central.

17. Indians: Four wins in a row has
everyone vibing optimistic, and now they’re getting Russell Branyan and
his attendant power added to the mix. I fear that a nine-game road trip
through Minnesota, Oakland and Anaheim is going to bring everyone
crashing back to Earth, however.

18. Mariners: Two of
three from Oakland and Detroit and now three games against the hapless
Orioles may prove to be the springboard back to respectability.

: Four losses in a row, and now they face an angry Boston
Red Sox team. Not sure if it’s a good Boston Red Sox team, but
they’re certainly angry.

20. Diamondbacks:  Their bullpen
is an utter mess. How messy? They gave up 14 runs in 7.2 innings vs.
the Padres over the weekend.

21. Royals: Reason to worry?
Zack Greinke did not top 94 mph with his fastball and averaged 91.2 mph
for the game against the Twins on Friday night.

22. Brewers:
Pitching, it was the Brew Crew’s downfall last year, and so it appears
to be again this year.

23. Cubs: After losing two of three to the Astros I should do
what they sometimes do in college football rankings and give them a
ceremonial last place slot. But hey: Soriano
isn’t going to be hopping anymore

24. Mets: Ike
Davis’ callup is a reason for optimism. Know what would be even better?
Firing Jerry Manuel and moving Jenrry Mejia to the rotation.

25. Nationals: Pfun Pfact: Ivan Rodriguez is leading the NL in
hitting. Bet you didn’t know that. And hey, between him and Livan
Hernandez pulling his mini-Hershiser act, at least the team is trying to
be interesting until Strasburg comes.

26. White Sox: A
suddenly sputtering offense and a four game losing streak has the White
Sox off to their worst start in 13 years. If only someone had predicted
this maybe it could have been avoided. Oh, wait, everyone predicted

27. Red Sox: This is being covered everywhere — including
— so I’ll spare you. Come back next week, though, as we’ll
have the results of [bleeping]
Brookline High’s
game against
this Thursday. 

28. Reds: The starting
pitching — expected to be a strength — has been terrible. Where have
you gone Aroldis Chapman, Reds’ Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

: The Astros have hit three home runs this year. Three.
That’s only three more than you’ve hit.

30. Orioles: The
team is skidding, the manager is on the ropes and the owner is
sorta-kinda-but-probably feuding
with the historical face of the franchise
.  I remember back when
Orioles fans were looked at with jealousy. Now I pity them.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Apr 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    My wish for the week is that Vazquez shows up tomorrow night so I can get these mutts away from me, I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.
    A more competitive Metropolitan or Sox offering wouldn’t be bad either, I find it impossible to tease the afflicted.

  2. scatterbrian - Apr 19, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Gio Gonzalez hasn’t entirely stuck yet. Still has control issues and needs too many pitches to get through an inning.

  3. Peteinfla - Apr 19, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Now wait – are you suggesting that Chapman will need to sleep with one of the owners wifes before he “Graduates” to the majors?

  4. Big Harold - Apr 19, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    “A more competitive Metropolitan or Sox offering wouldn’t be bad either, I find it impossible to tease the afflicted.”
    I’m with you, ..
    It’s gone from shooting fish in a barrel to shooting dead fish in a barrel.

  5. funi - Apr 19, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    The d’cracks 20th? They should be no higber than 26th! The bullpen is the worse in the majors! If nto for scoring 13 runs in 1 inning vs pitt, Hinsch would be on the hot seat!

  6. Charles Gates - Apr 19, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    I’d like to call a press conference.

    Okay, now that we’re all gathered, I’d like to announce that I’m semi-retiring as an everyday poster at HardballTalk. This decision has nothing to do with this site’s content, but rather with my decision to start a new job late last week. The new gig (‘gig’ makes it sound fun, like I’m a rock star or something, when in fact I’ve just moved from one evil (not that I think either bank, the current or the former, is actually evil, that’s just what I hear on the morning news) bank to the next in my career driven quest to become a Fat-Cat) has been pretty intensive so far.
    While my new position does come with a hefty raise and a slightly larger cubicle, it appears that it does not provide me with enough non value added confrence calls, and thus adequate time, to truly put my mind to use at HardballTalk. I may still be able chime in here and there during a lunch break or something, but the consistently insightful, witty, thought provoking fodder you’ve come to expect from Good Ol’ Charlie will unfortunately be more sparse than in the past.
    In so far as the topic at hand is concerned, I really can’t argue with the Orioles looking up at the rest of the league. I do feel, however, that the YTD win-loss totals are under selling the potential of the team. The O’s win drought has been caused by an off season offensive atrophy. Their 2010 OPS is .680 vs. a 2009 OPS of .747. Given the young talent the O’s have with Jones, Weiters, Pie, Markakis, Scott, Reimold etc, we’d expect flat production at the worst, if not a nice little bump from key contributors.
    The pitching, in contract, despite stanky leg-Gonzalez’s efforts to derail a few early wins, has seen an ERA improvement from 5.15 to 4.15 over the same time frame. We can write, though still in pencil at this point, Brian Matusz as the AL ROY.
    So far, more often than not, the ‘O’s’ shown on the MASN score banner stands not for the respective team, but Baltimore’s inning over inning game scoring summary. I expect the bats to wake up and the young pitching to keep on developing. That much I’m pretty certain of. The only question is: will Dave Trembley still be around to watch it?

  7. Simon DelMonte - Apr 19, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Good luck with the new job.
    The Captcha for this? Manacle prose. Make of it what you will.

  8. Joshgibsonpgh - Apr 19, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Although I agree its way to early to get used to the Pirates in 2nd place, you have to admit that a big part of their 22-run differential can be traced to a 13-run inning against Arizona. They still don’t score enough runs and occasionally get stymied by superior pitching, but the good news is that they still play in the NL Central.

  9. Jick - Apr 19, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Hey, look on the bright side, at least Marge Schott’s dead.

  10. YankeesfanLen - Apr 19, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Best wishes on the new ball-and-chain, but please remember something about this blog: You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 19, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Congrats on the new gig, Charles. I (and I think everyone else) has appreciated your comments, and they’ll certainly be missed.
    Note: I read every single comment that’s made, even if it’s after the fact. As a result, even if you’re not around much when things go live, always feel welcome to comment. At least I’ll still see it, even if others have moved on.

  12. scatterbrian - Apr 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    The plan to start Chapman in the minors seemed pretty half-baked.

  13. Charles Gates - Apr 19, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Ball and chain? Funny you should say that. I’m gettin’ hitched to the Finance this June. I hear the change a comin’. It’s rollin’ round the bend. And I ain’t seen sunshine since I don’t know when…

  14. Charles Gates - Apr 19, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    Sorry, according to Yahoo!, the O’s YTD ERA is 4.51. Typo.

  15. GimmeSomeSteel - Apr 19, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    For a Pirates fan, it’s nice to be above .500 this late in the season.

  16. Old Gator - Apr 19, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    Hey Charles, you ol’ capitalist peeg, best of luck. Hide your literacy quotient carefully. Just remember the words of Bob: act like a dumbshit and they’ll treat you like an equal.
    Now then: bad habits form quickly and easily because they’re so much more fun than good habits. In the case of the Feesh, though, “underestimating them at our peril” is a bad habit that formed because it was true exactly once during the past decade, in delirious 2003. It hasn’t been true since. They have outperformed what was expected of them (may I be horribly sunburned, wrapped in barbed wire and rolled down a rocky hillside if I ever use the phrase “exceeded expectations” again) on a couple of other occasions but haven’t shown that they can play with the big boys late into the season except during that year. Yes, Joe Girardi did have the kids playing over their heads for a while but I didn’t notice them in the postseason that year. Once Scrooge McLoria realized that he had an independent spirit on his hands who was contemptuous of his penny ante ownership philosophy, that was it for Joe. I didn’t notice the Feesh in the postseason in any other year during the past six either. To say that a team is mathematically “in contention” in mid-September when you’re in fact well out of the running weeks earlier and need a major total collapse by all three teams ahead of you to unravel a Fibonacci series deficit in the loss column and a winning streak you haven’t got in you in the first place is a bit of a bon mot, I think. That’s even true if you’re trailing the Mutts in the NL East.

  17. ROBERT GREENE - Apr 20, 2010 at 6:58 PM


  18. MassiveDynamic - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Two things, first, Stop Yelling!!! Secondly, Grow up, Vasquez is a good pitcher, and he’ll come around. If you knew anything about the real game of MLB, you would know that. But, I’m sure that in you’re case, if the Yankees started to tank, you’d be the first to jump off the Yankees Bandwagon that you hopped on after last years Championship!

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