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MLB Power Rankings: Tigers back to form

May 8, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

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Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

1. Detroit Tigers (LW: 4) – Hughes: Detroit has the most wins in the A.L. and Miguel Cabrera is hitting .270. Yea, they’re pretty good.

2. San Francisco Giants (LW: 5) – Roney: Odd to see a winless Matt Cain, one of baseball’s iron horses on the mound, hit the DL. He’s been as durable as it gets for almost a decade.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 3) – Hughes: They’ve started to slip up lately, but the Brewers are starting to look like the best team in the NL Central division this season.

4. Oakland Athletics (LW: 2) – Roney: Atop their division thanks to the starting pitching turned in by a sure thing, a has-been, and a never-was. Different ingredients, always the same recipe for Billy Beane.

5. Colorado Rockies (LW: 10) – Roney: Desperately hoping that this is finally the year that Tulowitzki stays healthy through October. Baseball deserves that.

6. Atlanta Braves (LW: 1) – Zuckerman: 7-game losing streak brought them back to earth, but they’ll be fine over the long haul.

7. Washington Nationals (LW: 6) – Zuckerman: If they somehow never had to play the 1st inning, they’d be No. 1 in this poll!

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 8) – Roney: Yasiel Puig might be the only player who could make taking a fly ball off the face look impressively athletic. It’s the reverse-Canseco.

9. Miami Marlins – Zuckerman: This team is going to give people trouble all year. Lots of young talent.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 11) – Roney: Good to see vintage Wainwright last night – just an embarrassment of pitching riches in St. Louis.

11. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 15) – Zuckerman: Breathing a sigh of relief after Dr. Andrews says no surgery for Wieters’ elbow.

12. New York Yankees (LW: 7) – Zuckerman: Tanaka is carrying their entire pitching staff right now. Yanks fans would say that alone is worth his pricetag.

13. Texas Rangers (LW: 13) – Roney: Shin-Shoo Choo looks to be worth every bit of that contract. Of course, big-dollar free agents usually look to be worth it in the first month of a seven-year deal.

14. Seattle Mariners (LW: 19) – Roney: Robinson Cano, on the other hand, does not. Good thing he’s got a while in Seattle to sort it out.

15. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LW: 14) – Roney: Raul Ibanez, at 42, finally looks like he’s running out of juice.

16. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20) – Hughes:  If only they had more talent around Chris Sale in their rotation.

17. New York Mets (LW: 9) – Zuckerman: New York’s pitching staff has yet to record a hit this season. I’m shocked — shocked! — that Bartolo Colon isn’t better with the bat.

18. Boston Red Sox (LW: 18) – Zuckerman: Is there anybody in baseball who isn’t happy for Grady Sizemore every time he does something positive on the field?

19. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 25) – Zuckerman: Jose Bautista is a man among boys.

20. Minnesota Twins (LW: 17) – Hughes: Perhaps Alex Meyer – who should be called up soon – can help out the Twins’ rotation which is a complete mess outside of Kyle Gibson.

21. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 23) – Zuckerman: Struggles across AL East have kept them within striking distance, but it’s time for them to make a move.

22. Phialdelphia Phillies (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: They’ve been hanging around, but that bullpen is a disaster.

23. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 21) – Hughes:  The Reds are having major trouble scoring runs, but they have the pitching to be a lot better than their record shows.

24. Kansas City Royals (LW: 12) – Hughes: James Shields and Wade Davis are off to great starts, so do the Royals look a little better now after the Wil Myers trade? They don’t? Okay, just checking.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 24) – Hughes: I’m not sure they miss A.J. Burnett yet, but man that rotation is bad right now.

26. Cleveland Indians (LW: 27) – Hughes: It’s looking more and more like last year was a fluke. Even Carlos Santana is struggling.

27. San Diego Padres (LW: 22) – Roney: Four regulars (Alonso, Gyorko, Headley, Venable) below the Mendoza line. Ugly.

28. Chicago Cubs (LW: 28) – Hughes: Jeff Samardzija may be finally reaching his potential as an MLB ace. That’s about all that is going right for the Cubbies, though.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 30) – Roney: With Trumbo out another month, it looks like Goldschmidt might have to do it all himself – a familiar feeling in the desert.

30. Houston Astros (LW: 29) – Hughes: The best batting average in their starting lineup is Jose Altuve’s .279, second-best is Jonathan Villar’s .250. They have only three regulars hitting above .225.

  1. Brookstoor - May 8, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I guess you have to put the Braves above the Nats right now because they won the division last year and carried over their winning ways against the Nats this year, but losing 7 out of 8 is the opposite of powerful in my book. Look at all of those games they scored one or zero runs.

    • Brookstoor - May 8, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      Actually isn’t that losing 8 out of 9?

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    This is insulting unless you did your Power Rankings yesterday. I’m a homer and even if I wasn’t I wouldn’t put the 3rd place Braves ahead of the 1st place Nats.

    • nats128 - May 8, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      “10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 11) – Roney: Good to see vintage Wainwright last night – just an embarrassment of pitching riches in St. Louis.”

      Reading this part about the Cardinals tells me this was written after last night. Power Rankings arent a exact science and very subjective however Im in agreement that the Nats deserve to be higher than the Barves for today even if head-to-head the Barves “own” the Nats. The Power Ranks are to me where you are overall not head to head. The Nats are in 1st Place.

    • Brookstoor - May 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      Yeah these are weekly power rankings? I crunched some numbers. There are 7 days in a week. The Braves lost 7 in a row. 7 divided by 7 is one. Maybe he should rank the Braves one.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        Brookstoor, I am enjoying your posts! That is a great one! A good laugh also!

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    I am sort of lost here so if someone is following this mess caused by Frandsen please chime in. If you don’t know there is a buzz going around based on Frandsen’s radio interview yesterday praising Rendon that he dissed another player. Keith Law thinks it’s Harper. Others think it’s Espinosa. What the heck happened and also crazy that Keith Law said about Tom Boswell. I copied KLaw below.

    Kevin Frandsen ‏@KevinFrandsen 3h
    It’s frustrating to see a compliment to one teammate be misinterpreted as a slight to another. Thanks #gonats

    Kevin Frandsen ‏@KevinFrandsen 3h
    Anthony Rendon deserves praise without qualification. I praised him not to slight anyone else but to give him some much-deserved recognition

    U.G. Wilcox (DC)

    Why are some people apparently offended by the idea that Rendon may be (or may end up being) a better player than Harper?
    Klaw (1:43 PM)

    Well, he’s not, first of all, although that’s no slam on Rendon. But more importantly, Frandsen should know better than to say something that stupid. There were better ways to handle the question, and Frandsen talked like a little kid who had never been interviewed by the media before. I’m a little disappointed the Nats didn’t just DFA him on the spot – you don’t need MORE controversy in that clubhouse, certainly not from a disposable player like him.

    Then there is this on Boz!

    Christopher (Staten Island)

    Hey Keith, how much influence does Boswell have with the Nationals? Do you think if Bosweel keeps it up the Mets can trade Granderson and a Shake Shack burger for Harper in the offseason?
    Klaw (2:02 PM)

    Boswell is way out of tune with the game at this point, and his attitude on Harper this year is just bizarre. Twenty-nine other teams would like to have him if the Nats don’t – and frankly I don’t believe that they don’t.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        I listened to it and never thought Frandsen inferred anything about Rendon vs Harper. What’s your interpretation Peric?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        OK, I heard the part about “He’s the best young guy by far” referring to Rendon. OK, he spoke honestly and that’s a problem. When I heard it the first time I blew right past it.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - May 8, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        He was definitely pro Harper getting benched toward the end. Stuck the blade in a little when he stated, and I paraphrase, ‘ that you can’t go around talking about Hustle and not do it?’

        And note how he emphasizes Rendon’s attitude.

        Yep he’s sticking it to Harper big time. And perhaps it makes sense given he’s getting lots of unexpected playing time due to Harper’s injury?

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - May 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM

        And as far as Espinosa I’ve never heard anyone say the guy doesn’t work hard and hustle. in fact Davey thought he worked too hard?

        No, he’s talking about Harper. No doubt about it. Frandsen clearly thinks he’s not putting out.

  4. nats128 - May 8, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Did Frandsen say Rendon will be better than Harper or is there some thing Im missing. I listened to the interview. I will listen again.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      Listen at 8:25 for the part of the controversy.

      • nats128 - May 8, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        I heard it and he is correct given today in time and not comparing a 24 year old (next month) to a 21 1/2 year old.

        Wins dont care about age whether its Jeter or Harper.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        Its what have you done for me lately and potential is always great but the best players right now on this team in position players are Werth, ALR and Rendon. Harper didn’t even make JD’s list of Top 5 on team WAR.

        I’m sure in 15 years Harper will have the higher career WAR but Frandsen was talking about today.

        Taking from some criticism on Frandsen, he can’t talk out of school. That’s rule 1 of the clubhouse.

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - May 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      He definitely said that. And you know what? He’s right … both offensively and more importantly defensively which you can tell Frandsen respects.

      But Harper may have the higher ceiling. Plus Harper is what? 21 now? Rendon going on 24 in a month? Bryce has three years to get a lot better before you can judge him … so who wins? Harper.

      • nats128 - May 8, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        I owe you a drink.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - May 8, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Provided he leaves it at the two tweets above, no one will remember the Kevin Frandsen brouhaha (if it even rises to that level) beyond Friday morning (if it even lasts that long).

    On the power rankings, I’m surprised at how rough a start to the season the Reds, Royals, and Pirates have had. I expected all three to be near the top of their respective divisions.

    • nats128 - May 8, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      He is judging them right now. If Frandsen was asked who will have the better career he would probably say Bryce.

      Clearly this is now a clubhouse issue.

  6. jd - May 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Why does a player of Frandsen’s caliber think his opinion matters?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      He was asked to be put on an interview and it went to his head. Stupid of him to speak his mind. Of course the Junkies want him back on. Most athletes are boring in interviews because they tow the company line. You don’t say it. That’s why most of these interviews are worthless.

      Of course I can’t disagree with anything he said in proper context. He’s not predicting the future rather he sees that Rendon is that special right now.

      Should Lance Berkman be pissed that his former College Coach who coached both him and Rendon said in 2011 that Rendon was the best hitter he ever coached? Rendon hadn’t played a pro game at that time.

  7. David Proctor - May 8, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Franden’s comments started out okay, but deteriorated quickly. He said nobody but Rendon was “even in the conversation.” And then he was specifically asked about Harper and doubled down. Frandsen was out of line for his comments.

    • jd - May 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      If I’m Rizzo I put an end to this real quick. Frandsen doesn’t add that much to the team and for him to have a public opinion on players who are 10 times his value at least is stupid at least.

      • David Proctor - May 8, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        Given that Frandsen has already walked back his comments via Twitter and he also appeared on MASN this afternoon to “clarify”, I’m certain somebody told him he needs to make it right and fast.

      • jd - May 8, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        Yeah, but he is he worth the trouble?

      • natsjackinfl - May 8, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        You guys are making way too much of this. And all because Keith Law stuck in his ESPN sensationalist 2 cents.

      • Dave - May 8, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        KLaw is REALLY leaving me cold lately. His reaction to MW’s benching of Bryce was pretty ill-considered, I thought.

      • Hiram Hover - May 8, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        If Keith Law has weighed in, it’s easy. The correct position is the opposite of his.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      David, what did Frandsen say on MASN? I posted the Tweeters above and he didn’t qualify or change what he said which was ranking Rendon above Harper.

  8. letswin3 - May 8, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Hmmm, is this another new poster here? Steve Roney?

  9. jd - May 8, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    I think weekly power rankings are somewhat bizzare. Are you looking at who’s on top over all? (why not just look at the standings?) or are you looking at who’s hot? (then the Braves need to be way lower).

    For whatever it’s worth I think the Tigers are the real deal and their manager was a great signing.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      +1 brilliant signing of Brad Ausmus. I have enjoyed watching Tigers games.

      • jd - May 8, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        I had hoped we sign him and was excited when he interviewed with us but Rizzo had already made up his mind For what it’s worth I don’t think MW has done anything egregious and may well grow into the job and become a fine manager but he does have a rookie feel to him at this point.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      jd, I think a Manager is usually only as good as his personnel and then they have to get them to perform. Matty can’t hit for them or field for them and neither can Brad Ausmus. Joe Torre was the Manager that did nothing much until he got the Yankees. Mattingly has that same position now with the Dodgers where you have a stacked team and have to coach the best out of them.

      If you want a great Manager, it’s Bruce Bochy and I like that guy Joe in Tampa.

      It’s growing pains and Matty played Monday to perfection going inning by inning with the bullpen. His toughest calls are going to be whether or not you sit LaRoche to get healthy and what you do with Espi. Those are the painful decisions. I think LaRoche needed to sit against Kershaw on Tuesday for instance especially after the marathon on Monday. That’s the tough decisions and its better than losing LaRoche long-term. The season is a marathon and not a sprint.

  10. natsjackinfl - May 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Off days suck.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      They sure do.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 8, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      Not if you about to get on the train to go see the Nats play in Oakland…

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 8, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        That should read: Not if you’re…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Have fun and we will look for you in the TV.

      • natsjackinfl - May 8, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        Have fun and Go Nats!

      • veejh - May 8, 2014 at 9:02 PM

        Eugene and I got tix together 8 rows behind the Nats dugout Saturday. Maybe you guys will see us.

  11. NatsLady - May 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    People ask someone’s opinion and then are miffed because he gives it? And Frandsen isn’t qualified to comment on Harper/Rendon because he’s a bench player???????? Huh?

    Nobody minded when Frandsen got on the radio the day before and criticized the Phillies organization. People have to have a thicker skin. This is much ado about nothing. Reminds me of when Soriano said his 4-year-old could have caught a ball Harper muffed. He was right. But he took WAY too much heat for saying so.

    • veejh - May 8, 2014 at 8:30 PM

      Agree. In one ear, out the other.

    • David Proctor - May 8, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      He basically said Harper wasn’t even in Rendon’s league. “Nobody else is even in the conversation.” That goes beyond saying he thinks Rendon is better. That goes into attacking Harper. He should keep his opinion to himself if that’s how he feels.

    • dcwx61 - May 8, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      right on, NL…This is not Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Billy Martin controversy..who is the straw that stirs the drink anyway ?
      Times have changed since Ball 4 was written..It’s not 1956, players are like everybody us…imperfect. No need to pretend anymore.

  12. veejh - May 8, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Looks like we catch ex-Nat Milone tomorrow who happens to not be having a good year. Good.

  13. dcwx61 - May 8, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    And meanwhile we’re stuck with PASN (Peter Angelos Sport Network), 100% for me and 0 for DC

    Braves Expect Major Revenue Boost From Reworked TV Deal
    By Jeff Todd [May 8, 2014 at 3:06pm CDT]

    While prior reports have indicated that the Braves re-negotiated aspects of their oft-bemoaned television rights package, the magnitude of the impact remained unknown until today, as Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Greg Maffei, the CEO of Liberty Media (the Braves’ publicly-held corporate owner), said on a quarterly conference call today that the renegotiated contracts would add “probably in the order of $500MM of incremental revenue over the life of the contracts of value to us.”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Just an unfortunate reminder of how unbalanced things are in the Orioles favor. In to rub the salt in the wound they adverstise inside the Washington Beltway and claim chunks of the Nats main geography as “Birdland”. Somehow I believe MASN pays for the extra perks towards the Os broadcast which based on profit sharing is actually partially funded by the Nats.

      • dcwx61 - May 8, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        I’m not sure how we compete in the long run until we are free of Orioles…A forced marriage….time for a divorce.

        I can only imagine what Selig would have done if Sterling was in MLB…He focuses on the small stuff (transfer rule) in order to avoid the big issues that are not in his interest to deal with

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 9:22 PM

        Its a Country Club and the owners don’t want to cause issues to open up their books. That is what they want to protect and Angelos knows that. My opinion is that the greedy troll ambulance chaser I’m sure has already threatened Selig that he will expose the dirty little secrets if he has to pay up.

        The one thing all owners are afraid of is opening up their books.

      • dcwx61 - May 8, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        Interesting how one guy can hold up a whole industry…not having to worry about anti-trust, monopoly regulations help at the expense of the millions of baseball consumers.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        That sums it up dcwx61

  14. dcwx61 - May 8, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    More from MLB trade rumors:

    For some context, consider that the Phillies’ recent TV deal came in at $2.5B over 25 years (and also gave the Phils certain equity and ad revenue rights).

    So phillies get 2.5B over 25 years while the Nats are stuck with much, much less (1/5 or so??)

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    H/T to LaddieBlahBlah for the encouraging news on Purke and Destin Hood:

    >>> Since his promotion to Syracuse, outfielder Destin Hood has continued his standout season. As Syracuse completed a sweep today, Hood went 3 for 4 with two doubles. In 19 games at Class AA Harrisburg, he hit .329/.355/.384. In his first eight games at Class AAA, Hood is hitting .357 with four doubles, a homer, four walks and three strikeouts.

    In recent seasons, Hood had slimmed down over the winter to enhance his speed. He showed up this spring more muscular, and it has made a pronounced difference. He is an average corner outfielder with not enough speed to play center, evaluators say.

    The Nationals drafted Hood in the second round in 2008. They signed him with a $1.1 million bonus, which was enough to pry him out of a scholarship to play wide receiver for the Alabama football team.

    There’s still a lot of season left, but Hood’s success this so far offers yet another example of why prospects can’t be dismissed too soon. He struggled so much in 2012 that he repeated Class AA in 2013 and started there again this season. He’s still just 24. He could be a call-up this season and perhaps an inexpensive bench player for a few years, or even more than that.

    The Nationals declined to protect Hood from the Rule 5 draft this winter. If Hood keeps producing, they probably will have to this winter.

    >>> Matt Purke fired six scoreless innings last night, which put an end, or at least paused, to his early-season struggles. Purke, who is on the 40-man roster by virtue of the $4 million big league contract he signed out of the 2011 draft, still has a 7.18 ERA.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      By the way, that was a copy and paste from WaPo.

      My question on Hood is how an Alabama wide receiver recruit could be slow because this section makes no sense: “He is an average corner outfielder with not enough speed to play center, evaluators say.”

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - May 8, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        I think this has more to do with Hood’s ability to “run routes”. Apparently he catches balls over the shoulder in left according to Jason Benetti. I cannot recommend listening to the Podcast posted here with Benetti strongly enough. He provides insights most folks will never get about these players and he does during that podcast!

        Brings up that very interesting 2nd half of the Guzman trade Ryan Tatusko. I suspect he watched what Roark did and decided he could do better. Given he can run it up to 97 he may be right in thinking that.

        The real eye opener of interest is his comment about the philosophy of the offense given the loss of pretty much all of their big guns for the first two months. (Of course a couple are returned now in the person of T-Mo and Souza). They became a patient team of table setters and one run producer in Peterson. Benetti seems convinced that patient approach is rubbing off on both Goodwin and Hood. And you know what both their OBP and advanced stats reflect that! They have a lot of players who are good at walking, getting on, and making things happen. Keeps their minds busy so they aren’t thinking about why they aren’t in the majors.

        I think its time to promote Michael Taylor so that he can learn to do that. Hopefully, when / if Walters returns he will do the same.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        If Goodwin can prioritize OBP and stop swinging for the fences then mission accomplished. There’s no doubt he can smoke some balls but his swing & miss was a real problem and the Nats need Span’s replacement to be a defensive minded high OBP guy who can run the bases.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - May 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        Methinks the heir apparent to Mat Williams should that need arise should be this new manager of the ‘Cuse Gardner. This guy is really, really good!

  16. Natsfool - May 8, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    You DFA Frandsen when Harper returns. That will send the message to keep the issues private and signal Harper’s worth. The Nats have treated Harper horribly for no apparent reason. Because he is not as good as Trout? No one is. This is not how you run an organization.

    • veejh - May 9, 2014 at 4:44 AM

      The Nats have treated Harper horribly? This makes zero sense to me. I’m sorry, clue me in.





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